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Suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas.[1] Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic. The term aerosol commonly refers to the particulate/air mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone.[2] Examples of natural aerosols are fog or mist, dust, forest exudates, and geyser steam. Examples of anthropogenic aerosols include particulate air pollutants, mist from the discharge at hydroelectric dams, irrigation mist, perfume from atomizers, smoke, dust, steam from a kettle, sprayed pesticides, and medical treatments for respiratory illnesses.[3] When a person inhales the contents of a vape pen or e-cigarette, they are inhaling an anthropogenic aerosol.[4]

photograph of heavy mist
Mist and fog are aerosols

The liquid or solid particles in an aerosol have diameters typically less than 1 μm (larger particles with a significant settling speed make the mixture a suspension, but the distinction is not clear-cut). In general conversation, aerosol often refers to a dispensing system that delivers a consumer product from a can.

Diseases can spread by means of small droplets in the breath,[5] sometimes called bioaerosols.[6]

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