Faculty Directory

Asa-Awuku, Akua

Asa-Awuku, Akua

Associate Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
4418 Stadium Drive Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building (090)


Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Chemical Egineering, 2008


  • Water uptake of particles; characterizing thermodynamic properties governing droplet formation for air quality, health and climate impacts
  • Novel characterization of relevant primary and secondary organic aerosol; black carbon; chemical composition and effects on the health and the hydrological cycle
  • Experimental investigation of the formation of cloud droplets: the activation of organic Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) and its subsequent effects on climate


  • 2012 NSF CAREER
  • 2011 EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR)
  • 2009 NSF-Georgia Tech FACES Career Initiation Grant Recipient 
  • 2009 Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESS X)
  • 2008 NSF-Georgia Tech FACES Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2008 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Post Doctoral Scholar
  • 2005-7 NASA ESS (Earth Sun-System) Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology


  • American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Air & Water Management Association (A&WMA)
  • American Meteorological Society (AMS)
  • Alpha Chi Sigma (AXE)
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
  • European Geophysical Union (EGU)



Investigating the formation, composition, and measurement of anthropogenic and biogenic aerosol to explore the impacts on climate and health.

Short, D., Vu, D., Chen, V., Espinoza, C., Berte, T., Karavalakis, G., Durbin, TD and *Asa-Awuku, A. (2017). Understanding particles emitted from spray and wall-guided gasoline direct injection and flex fuel vehicles operating on ethanol and iso-butanol gasoline blends. Aerosol Science and Technology, 51(3), 330-341.

Vu, D., Short, D. Z., Karavalakis, G., Durbin, T. D., & &Asa-Awuku, A. (2017). Will Aerosol Hygroscopicity Change with Biodiesel, Renewable Diesel Fuels and Emission Control Technologies? Environmental Science & Technology.

Piqueras, P., Li, F., Castelluccio, V., Matsumoto, M., & *Asa-Awuku, A. (2016). Real-Time Ultrafine Aerosol Measurements from Wastewater Treatment Facilities. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(20), 11137-11144.

Clark, C. H., Kacarab, M., Nakao, S., Asa-Awuku, A., Sato, K., & Cocker, D. R.(2016). Temperature effects on secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from the dark ozonolysis and photo-oxidation of isoprene. Environmental science & technology.

Giordano, M. R., Chong, J., Weise, D. R., & Asa-Awuku, A. A. (2016). Does chronic nitrogen deposition during biomass growth affect atmospheric emissions from biomass burning?. Environmental Research Letters, 11(3), 034007.

Asa-Awuku, A., Sorooshian, A., Flagan, R.C., Seinfeld, J.H., Nenes, A. CCN Properties of Organic Aerosol Collected Below and within Marine Stratocumulus Clouds near Monterey, California. Atmospheres (2015)  6 (11), 1590-1607

Vu, D., D. Short, G. Karavalakis; T. Durbin; and A. Asa-Awuku. Integrating Cloud Condensation Nuclei Predictions with Fast Time Resolved Aerosol Instrumentation to Determine the Hygroscopic Properties of Emissions over Transient Drive Cycles Aerosol Science and Technology. (2015)  49 (11), 1149-1159  

Short, D., Vu, D., Durbin, T.,  Karavalakis, G., Asa-Awuku, A. "Components of Particle Emissions from Light-Duty Spark-Ignition Vehicles with Varying Aromatic Content and Octane Rating in Gasoline." Environmental Science & Technology (2015). 49 (17), pp 10682–10691

Xue, J., Li, Y., Wang, X., Durbin, T., Johnson, K.C., Karavalakis, G., Asa-Awuku, A., Villela, M., Quiros, D., Hu, S., Huai, T., Ayala, A.,Jung, H. Comparison of vehicle exhaust particle size distributions by SMPS and EEPS during steady state operating conditions. Aerosol Science and Technology (2015.)

Karavalakis, Georgios, Daniel Short, Diep Vu, Robert L. Russell, Akua Asa-Awuku, Heejung Jung, Kent C. Johnson, and Thomas D. Durbin. "The impact of ethanol and iso-butanol blends on gaseous and particulate emissions from two passenger cars equipped with spray-guided and wall-guided direct injection SI (spark ignition) engines." Energy 82 (2015): 168-179.

Karavalakis, Georgios, Daniel Z. Short, Diep Vu, Robert L. Russell, Maryam Hajbabaei, Akua Asa-Awuku, and Thomas D. Durbin. "Evaluating the Effects of Aromatics Content in Gasoline on Gaseous and Particulate Matter Emissions from SI-PFI and SI-DI Vehicles." Environmental science & technology, 49, 7021-7031 (2015).

Short, D., Vu, D., Durbin, T., Karavalakis, G., Asa-Awuku, A. Particle Speciation of Emissions from Iso-Butanol and Ethanol Blended Gasoline in Light-Duty Spark-Ignition Vehicles. Journal of Aerosol Science. (2015): 39-52.

Karavalakis, G., Short, D., Russell, R., Jung, H., Johnson, K.C., Asa-Awuku, A., Durbin, T. Assessing the Impacts of Ethanol and Iso-Butanol Impacts on Gaseous and Particulate Emissions from Flexible Fuel Vehicles. Environmental Science and Technology.   48, 14016-14024, 2014

Short, D., Giordano, M., Zhu, Y., Fine, P., Polidori, A., Asa-Awuku, A. A Unique On-line Method to Infer Water-Insoluble Particle Contributions. Aerosol Science and Technology. Vol. 48: 7 p.706-714. 9p. 2014

Tan, C.L., Gao, S., Wee, S., Asa-Awuku, A., B, T.R. Adhesion of Dust Particles to Common Indoor Surfaces in Air-Conditioned Environment. Aerosol Science and Technology. Vol. 48: 5 p.541-551. , 2014  

Tang, X., Price, D., Praske, E.J., Vu, D., Purvis-Roberts, K., Silva, P., Cocker III, D.R., Asa-Awuku, A. CCN Activity of Two Aliphatic Amine Secondary Aerosol. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Vol. 14: p.5959-5967. , 2014

Karavalakis, G., Short, D., Vu, D., Villela, M., Asa-Awuku, A., Durbin, T. Evaluating the regulated emissions, air toxics, ultrafine particles, and black carbon from SI-PFI and SI-DI vehicles operating on different ethanol and iso-butanol blends. Fuel. Vol. 128: p.410-421. 2014

Giordano, M., Asa-Awuku, A. Rebuttal to Correspondence on “Changes in Droplet Surface Tension Affect the Observed Hygroscopicity of Photochemically Aged Biomass Burning Aerosol”. Environmental Science and Technology. Vol. 48: 3 p.2084-2085, 2014.

Kreidenweis, S., Asa-Awuku, A.   Aerosol Hygroscopicity: Particle Water Content and Its Role in Atmospheric Processes. Treatise on Geochemistry 2nd Edition. Editors: H. D. Holland, K.K. Turekian. Elseiver. Oxford. Vol. 5: p.331-361, 2014

Clark, C. H. , S. Nakao, A. Asa-Awuku, K. Sato, and *D. R. Cocker. Real-time study of particle-phase products from α-pinene ozonolysis and isoprene photo-oxidation using particle into liquid sampling directly coupled to a time of flight mass spectrometer (PILS-ToF), Aerosol Sci. & Tech., p.1374-1382. 2013

Giordano, M. R., D. Z. Short, E. Hosseini, W. Lichtenberg, and  A. Asa-Awuku. Changes in Droplet Surface Tension Affect the Observed Hygroscopicity of Photochemically Aged Biomass Burning Aerosol. Env. Sci. & Tech. doi:10.1021/es401867j, 2013

Tang, X., D. Price, E. Praske, S. A. Lee, M. A. Shattuck, K. Purvis-Roberts, P. Silva, A. Asa-Awuku, and D. R. Cocker III. NO3 radical, OH radical and O3- initiated secondary aerosol formation from aliphatic amines- salt formation and the effect of water vapor. Atmos. Environ. 72, 105–112, 2013

S. Nakao, P. Tang, X.Tang, C. H. Clark, L. Qi, A. Asa-Awuku, D. R. Cocker III. Density and elemental ratios of secondary organic aerosol: application of a density prediction method. Atmos. Environment, 68,  273 -277, 2013

Tang, X., Cocker III, D. R., and *Asa-Awuku, A.: Are sesquiterpenes a good source of secondary organic cloud condensation nuclei (CCN)? Revisiting β-caryophyllene CCN, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 8377-8388, doi:10.5194/acp-12-8377-2012, 2012  

M. Y. Khan, M. Giordano , J. Gutierrez, W. A. Welch, A. Asa-Awuku, J. W. Miller, *D. R. Cocker III, Benefits of Two Mitigation Strategies for Container Vessels: Cleaner Engines and Cleaner Fuels, Environmental Science and Technology. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46 (9), pp 5049–5056 DOI: 10.1021/es2043646

 X. Tang, Z. Zheng, H S. Jung, *A. Asa-Awuku. The Effects of Mainstream and Sidestream Environmental Tobacco Smoke Composition for Enhanced Condensational Droplet Growth by Water Vapor. Aerosol Science and Technology, Vol. 46, Iss. 7, 2012

A. Asa-Awuku, R. Moore, A. Nenes, R. Bahreini, C. A. Brock, A. Middlebrook, J. Holloway , T. Ryerson, J. Jimenez, P. DeCarlo , A. Hecobian, R. Weber , D. Tanner , R. Stickel and L. G. Huey ''Airborne Cloud Condensation Nuclei Measurements during the 2006 Texas Air Quality Study'' J. Geophys. Res., 116, D11201, doi:10.1029/2010JD014874, 2011

Z. Zheng, X. Tang, A. Asa-Awuku, H. Jung, Characterization of a Method for Aerosol Generation from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) as an Alternative to Emissions from Ship Diesel Engines, Journal of Aerosol Science, 41(12), 1143-1151, 2010

Asa-Awuku, A., *Nenes, A., Gao, S., Flagan, R. C., and Seinfeld, J. H.: Water-soluble SOA from Alkene ozonolysis: composition and droplet activation kinetics inferences from analysis of CCN activity, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 1585-1597, 2010.

Asa-Awuku, A., M. A. Miracolo, J. H. Kroll, A. L. Robinson, and N. M. Donahue,  Mixing and phase partitioning of primary and secondary organic aerosols, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L15827, doi:10.1029/2009GL039301, 2009

Asa-Awuku, A., G.J. Engelhart., B.H. Lee, S.N. Pandis and  *A. Nenes, Relating CCN activity, volatility, and droplet growth kinetics of β-caryophyllene secondary organic, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9, 795-812, 2009

Asa-Awuku, A., A. P. Sullivan,  C.J. Hennigan, R. J. Weber and *A. Nenes, Investigation of Molar Volume and Surfactant Characteristics of water-soluble Organic Compounds in Biomass Burning Aerosol, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 8, 799-812, 2008

Engelhart G.J., A. Asa-Awuku, A. Nenes and *S. N. Pandis,  CCN activity and droplet growth kinetics of fresh and aged monoterpene secondary organic aerosol , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 8, 3937-3949, 2008

Padró, L.T., A. Asa-Awuku, R. Morisson,  and *A. Nenes, Inferring Thermodynamic Properties from CCN Activation Experiments a) Single-component and Binary Aerosols, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 7, ,3805-3836, 2007

Asa-Awuku, A., and *A. Nenes (2007), Effect of solute dissolution kinetics on cloud droplet formation: Extended Koehler theory, Journal of Geophysical. Research, 112, D22201, 2007  doi:10.1029/2005JD006934



Measuring Change in the Atmosphere

Akua Asa-Awuku strives to understand the molecular components of the atmosphere that exist at the ultrasmall nanoscale.

UMD Faculty Awarded ED Grant to Increase Doctoral Degrees in Areas of National Need

The nine-year award is part of ED's Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program, also known as GAANN.

ChBE Prof Asa-Awuku Battles Air Quality Issues in Maryland

Akua Asa-Awuku - recently interview by WIRED - works with Thriving Earth Exchange to counter the effects of environmental degradation and legislative reform in Brandywine.

UMD Students Encourage Fellow Academics to Get Moving

Joey Hurm and Tanner Pfendner organize calisthenics club to promote fitness, decrease stress. 

Akua Asa-Awuku Strives to Improve Air Quality and Related Climate Change Policy

ChBE Associate Professor Akua Asa-Awuku is exploring aerosols and the impact they have on human health and the environment.