Aerosol

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aerosol

A colloidal system in which the dispersed phase is composed of either solid or liquid particles, and in which the dispersion medium is some gas, usually air.

There is no clear-cut upper limit to the size of particles composing the dispersed phase in an aerosol, but as in all other colloidal systems, it is rather commonly set at 100 μm in diameter. Haze, most smokes, and some fogs and clouds may thus be regarded as aerosols. However, it is not good usage to apply the term to ordinary clouds with drops so large as to rule out the usual concept of colloidal stability. It is also poor usage to apply the term to the dispersed particles alone; an aerosol is a system of dispersed phase and dispersing medium taken together.
Compare airborne particulates, particles, PM2.5, PM10.


Seinfeld, J. H., and S. N. Pandis, 2006: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics: From Air Pollution to Climate Change. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, 1203 pp.

Term edited 15 September 2021.