Tiny Yet Hazardous: Aerosols Produced by Contaminated Bubble Bursting Are Far Smaller Than Predicted

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A cold sparkling water. Waves crashing on the beach. The crackle of a bonfire. Steam from a kettle. These factors not only contribute to a relaxing weekend but also add to the aerosols in our environment. While some aerosol sources may not cause significant harm, others, such as those originating

Aerosols are tiny particles suspended in the air that can have both natural and human-made sources. They play a crucial role in our atmosphere, affecting climate, air quality, and human health.These factors not only contribute to a relaxing weekend but also add to the aerosols in our environment.

Aerosols are quite ubiquitous in our environment, and they can be natural or anthropogenic in nature. Bubble-bursting aerosols play a key role in the transfer of mass across liquid interfaces. Sea spray aerosols, for example, are primarily generated by bubble bursting at the ocean surface. The drops that are produced from bubble bursting can impact air pollution, global climate, and even the transmission of infectious diseases.

Feng and Yang investigated the impact a thin layer of oil has on bursting bubbles, as a model system for contaminated bubbles. The bursting of a millimeter-sized bare bubble at an aqueous surface produces drops with a typical size of around 100 micrometers . In this work, they found that drops can be as small as a few µm when the bursting bubble is coated by a thin layer of oil.


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