Borehole diffusive flux apparatus for characterizing diffusive mass-transfer in subsurface systems

Mark L. Brusseau, Kenneth C. Carroll, Zhilin Guo, Jon Mainhagu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The concept of the Borehole Diffusive Flux Apparatus (BDFA) is presented herein. The BDFA is an innovative apparatus designed to provide continuous direct access to an undisturbed column of sediment that can be monitored at multiple discrete vertical intervals to provide high-resolution characterization of local-scale mass transfer and attenuation. The conceptual basis and technical design of the device are presented, along with an example of borehole design and installation at a field site. Mathematical simulations are used to illustrate its application for two scenarios. The results of these simulations indicate that test periods of several weeks to a few months should be sufficient to obtain robust results. The device has the potential to improve our ability to characterize critical mass-transfer and attenuation processes and to quantify the associated rates. This information is key to the evaluation of remediation alternatives, for enhancing the accuracy of mathematical models, and to support more effective long-term management of large groundwater contaminant plumes present at many sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number648
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Attenuation
  • Back diffusion
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Plume persistence
  • Site characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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