The physical and chemical properties of an aerosol depend to a large extent on the size of the particles that make it up. When those particles are very large, they tend to have the same properties as a macroscopic (large size) sample of the same material. The smaller the particles are, however, the more likely they are to take on new characteristics different from those of the same material in bulk. Aerosols tend to coagulate, or to collide and combine with each other to form larger bodies. A cloud, for example, consists of tiny droplets of water and tiny ice crystals. These particles move about randomly within the cloud, colliding with each other from time to time. As a result of a collision, two water particles may adhere (stick) to each other and form a larger, heavier particle. This process results in the formation of droplets of water or crystals of ice heavy enough to fall to Earth as rain, snow, or some other form of precipitation.
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Adrenoceptor (adrenoreceptor; adrenergic receptor) to AmbientAerosols - Sources, Physical Properties, Synthetic Production, Environmental Factors - Classification, Aerosol sniffing