Sea Spray Generators

Home/Tools & Facilities/Tools/Sea Spray Generators

Sea Spray Generators

Glass Wave Channel

SIO wave channel facilityIn order to properly reproduce the properties of aerosol particles generated in nature, it is essential to accurately mimic the mechanisms that create them.  Towards this goal, an artificial ocean was created in the glass wave channel in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Hydraulics Laboratory.  In Phase I, real seawater from off the Scripps Pier was transported to fill the 33m x 0.5m x 0.5m tank.  Wave packets were generated using an electro-hydraulic powered paddle to mimic the wave properties and bubble size distribution encountered in nature.  The tank was sealed and filtered air was directed through the channel to provide a clean background from which to measure the properties of particles generated during the process.  Beyond measuring properties of particles generated from clean seawater, biological material can easily be added to simulate increased concentrations of eukaryotes, bacteria, and organic carbon in order to probe the impacts of changing seawater composition on aerosol properties.  This experimental setup has allowed for the first measurement of the chemical properties of nascent sea spray.

Marine Aerosol Reference Tank  (MART) System

For smaller scale, focused studies, it is beneficial to have a generation mechanism that can be easily manipulated to probe fine level variations and can be effectively reproduced at numerous locations.  The design of the  MART system accomplishes these goals by using the lessons learned during experimentation with the glass walled wave channel to properly reproduce the properties of sea spray.  There are currently three iterations of the MART  tank system.

  1. The first generation model for smaller experimental systems.
  2. A larger version for increased particle production capabilities.
  3. A duplicate of the larger tank optimized for measurements of the physical properties of the wave simulation system.
Related Publications

1. Prather et. al., “Bringing the ocean to the laboratory to probe the chemical complexity of sea spray aerosol,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013.

2. Stokes et. al., “A Marine Aerosol Reference Tank as a wave breaking analogue for the production of foam and sea spray aerosols,” Atmos. Meas. Tech., 2013.