After global methane and carbon dioxide emission, soot is one of the worst contributors to climate change. Soot particles absorb solar radiation and heats the surrounding atmosphere. This results in warmer global temperatures. Soot also causes other environmental and health problems such as making us more susceptible to respiratory viruses.
Soot can only persist in the atmosphere for a few weeks. This means if the emission of soot can be stopped, the air can be pure. This we have recently witnessed during recent lockdowns, when industrial emissions have stopped and the sky got clearer.
But soot is also essential for our future. Soot can be converted into carbon black that is used to make batteries, tires and paint. Small carbon blacks are used to make fluoresce that is used for tagging biological molecules in catalysts and solar cells.
But, when the molecules cluster to form the first nanoparticles of soot is still unknown to scientists. If this was known to scientists, then they would be able to eliminate its formation.
University of Cambridge and Cambridge CARES researchers published a paper where they give a compressive review on the birth of soot.
The researchers gave a complete diagram of the formation of soot particle. They found out, there are two main ways to form soot inception. One, where molecules form droplets and another, where molecules form chemical polymerisation. But, in both ways molecules react to form particles.
The researchers suggested a “middle way” by involving π-radicals and diradicals in the formation of the soot particle. This will help in reducing the harmful affect these particles have on environment and human beings.