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Portrait of Joakim Pagels

Joakim Pagels

Senior Lecturer

Portrait of Joakim Pagels

Hygroscopic behavior of aerosol particles emitted from biomass fired grate boilers


  • Jenny Rissler
  • Joakim Pagels
  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Aneta Wierzbicka
  • M Strand
  • L Lillieblad
  • Mehri Sanati
  • Mats Bohgard

Summary, in English

This study focuses on the hygroscopic properties of submicrometer aerosol particles emitted from two small-scale district heating combustion plants (1 and 1.5 MW) burning two types of biomass fuels (moist forest residue and pellets). The hygroscopic particle diameter growth factor (Gf) was measured when taken from a dehydrated to a humidified state for particle diameters between 30 350 nm (dry size) using a Hygroscopic Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (H-TDMA). Particles of a certain dry size all showed similar diameter growth and the Gf at RH = 90% for 110/100 nm particles was 1.68 in the 1 MW boiler, and 1.5 in the 1.5 MW boiler. These growth factors are considerably higher in comparison to other combustion aerosol particles such as diesel exhaust, and are the result of the efficient combustion and the high concentration of alkali species in the fuel. The observed water uptake could be explained using the Zdanovski-Stokes-Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule and a chemical composition of potassium salts only, taken from ion chromatography analysis of filter and impactor samples (KCl, K2SO4, and K2CO3). Agglomerated particles collapsed and became more spherical when initially exposed to a moderately high relative humidity. When diluted with hot particle-free air, the fractal-like structures remained intact until humidified in the H-TDMA. A method to estimate the fractal dimension of the agglomerated combustion aerosol and to convert the measured mobility diameter hygroscopic growth to the more useful property volume diameter growth is presented. The fractal dimension was estimated to be similar to 2.5.


  • Nuclear physics
  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology

Publishing year







Aerosol Science and Technology





Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • Physical Chemistry




  • ISSN: 1521-7388