Nature communications

Aerosol generation by raindrop impact on soil.

PMID 25586153


Aerosols are investigated because of their significant impact on the environment and human health. To date, windblown dust and sea salt from sea spray through bursting bubbles have been considered the chief mechanisms of environmental aerosol dispersion. Here we investigate aerosol generation from droplets hitting wettable porous surfaces including various classifications of soil. We demonstrate that droplets can release aerosols when they influence porous surfaces, and these aerosols can deliver elements of the porous medium to the environment. Experiments on various porous media including soil and engineering materials reveal that knowledge of the surface properties and impact conditions can be used to predict when frenzied aerosol generation will occur. This study highlights new phenomena associated with droplets on porous media that could have implications for the investigation of aerosol generation in the environment.

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