Characterizing pore-scale dissolution of organic immiscible liquid in a poorly-sorted natural porous medium

A. E. Russo, M. Narter, M. L. Brusseau

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14 Scopus citations


Synchrotron X-ray microtomography was used to characterize the pore-scale morphology and distribution of an organic immiscible liquid (trichloroethene) during water flushing to examine dissolution dynamics. The experiments were conducted with a natural porous medium that has a large particle-size distribution. The results were compared to those of a previous experiment conducted with a well-sorted natural sand. The median organic-liquid blob volume was smaller, and smaller blobs composed a larger fraction of the distribution, for the poorly sorted medium. In addition, mass removal was less spatially uniform for the poorly sorted medium. The concentration of trichloroethene in the column effluent was monitored during dissolution to assess mass-flux behavior. A first-order mass transfer equation was used to simulate the measured elution curves. Organic-liquid/water interfacial areas measured with microtomography were used as input, and simulated effluent concentrations were compared to the measured effluent concentrations to determine best-fit values for the masstransfer coefficient. The value obtained for the poorly sorted medium was approximately 10 times smaller than that obtained for the well-sorted medium. This disparity indicates that hydraulic accessibility of the organic liquid is more constrained for the poorly sorted medium, which would be consistent with a more complex pore-scale flow field for the poorly sorted medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5671-5678
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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