MASCAPITAS: description and transnational access
MASCAPITAS (Manchester Atmospheric Simulation Chamber for Aerosol Property, Impact, Transformation & Ageing Studies) has been designed to study atmospheric processes of multicomponent aerosols under controlled conditions. Our research ranges from formation and transformation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) under seeded and un-seeded conditions to investigations of the direct and indirect effects of multicomponent aerosols on climate. A key feature and major objective of the chamber facility is to investigate the changing potential of the aerosol populations to affect radiative forcing as they evolve chemically and physically and thus to improve quantification of the effects of competing aerosol processes on climate. MASCAPITAS is part of the Transnational Access of Euochamp-2.
2. Description of the research facility
The Manchester aerosol chamber is run as a batch reactor where the composition of the gaseous precursors, pre-existing seed, oxidising environment, relative humidity and temperature is controlled. The chamber comprises an 18 m3 (3m(H)x3m(L)x2m(W)) FEP Teflon bag mounted on three rectangular extruded aluminium frames. The central rigid rectangular frame is fixed, with the upper and lower frames free to move vertically causing the bag to expand and collapse as sample air is introduced and extracted, ensuring maintenance of a slight positive pressure throughout each cycle and minimizing contamination from laboratory air. A bank of halogen lamps and a 6 kW Xenon arc lamp are mounted on the enclosure housing the bag which is coated with reflective "space blanket" serving to render the enclosure as an integrating sphere, maximising the irradiance in the bag and ensuring even illumination.
An aerosol generation system and heated gaseous charge injection port allow control of the experimental initial input concentrations of seed aerosol particles and parent VOCs. NOx levels are controlled by injection from a cylinder into the charge line and a high capacity O3 generator can control initial O3 concentrations as well as serving as a cleaning agent during flushing between experiments. RH and T are measured at several points throughout the chamber (by dewpoint hygrometer and a series of thermocouples and resistance probes) and are controlled by diverting air through the inlet humidification circuit and by controlling the air conditioning setpoint. This controls the conditions throughout the experiment.
A wide range of instruments are available for deployment in ground and aircraft-based field measurement within the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Manchester. These are available for deployment in the chamber in scheduled campaign mode and otherwise periodically when not in field use. In addition, there are a range of core instruments available for all experiments. Instruments sampling from the centre of the chamber evaluate the size, chemical composition, hygroscopic properties and cloud-forming potential of the aerosol particles as well as gas phase measurements of ozone and nitrogen oxides.
2.1. Technical data
Specific information is found here
Several papers from the ACES (aerosol coupling in the Earth System) project are currently in preparation.
2.4. Access to the chamber under Eurochamp TA
Access to MASCAPITAS can be provided through Eurochamp-2 Transnational Access as well as other collaborations. Please contact us in order to discuss the appropriate setup for new projects. Access is typically for 1-4 weeks at a time with 6 months notice (possibly less by prior arrangement). Users will collaborate directly with University of Manchester staff working at MASCAPITAS and its instrumentation (Gordon McFiggans, Rami Alfarra and others).
There is provision for modifications of inlet lines on request. Access to workshops and laboratories can be provided after consultation. Chamber data and the data of the installed instruments are available for the user.
Unit of access is defined as one day spent by any group at the Manchester chamber. The full time period is counted from the day of arrival until the day of departure; the eligible period thus includes also the preparatory phase to set up instruments at the beginning. Required chamber cleaning days in between experiments are included, as the chamber cannot be used for other purposes during the cleaning procedure.
3. Institution in charge of the laboratory facility
The Centre for Atmospheric Science (CAS) studies processes important to climate change and air quality in the troposphere and lower stratosphere - the lowest 20 km of the Earth's atmosphere. It is one of the largest such groups in UK universities, and have extensive collaborative links with leading atmospheric sciences groups world-wide. The centre has a strong experimental programme, with a range of state-of-the-art facilities for field and laboratory measurements. To complement the measurements we run numerical models on a variety of scales using code developed at Manchester as well as national and international standard models. CAS is part of the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (SEAES) at the University of Manchester and currently consists of approximately 90 staff and postgraduate students.
3.1. Contact Information
Prof. Gordon McFiggans, phone: +44 161 3063954, fax: +44 161 3063951
Dr. Rami Alfarra, phone: +44 161 3063928, fax: +44 161 3063951School of Earth, Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences
The University of Manchester
Simon building, Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, UK
4. Additional Information