On the enrichment of hydrophobic organic compounds in fog droplets

K. T. Valsaraj, G. J. Thoma, D. D. Reible, L. J. Thibodeaux

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The unusual degree of enrichment of hydrophobic organics in fogwater droplets reported by several investigators can be interpreted as a result of (a) the effects of temperature correction on the reported enrichment factors, (b) the effects of colloidal organic matter (both filterable and non-filterable) in fog water and (c) the effects of the large air-water interfacial adsorption of neutral hydrophobic organics on the tiny fog droplets. The enrichment factor was directly correlated to the hydrophobicity (or the activity coefficient in water) of the compounds, as indicated by their octanol-water partition constants. Compounds with large octanol-water partition coefficients (high activity coefficients in water) showed the largest enrichment. Available experimental data on the adsorption of hydrophobic compounds at the air-water interface and on colloidal organic carbon were used to show that the large specific air-water interfacial areas of fog droplets contribute significantly to the enrichment factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment Part A, General Topics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993


  • Fog droplet
  • air-water interface
  • colloids
  • enrichment
  • hydrophobic organics
  • temperature


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