Determination of Chlorinated Solvent Sorption by Porous Material-Application to Trichloroethene Vapor on Cement Mortar

Marion Musielak, Mark L. Brusseau, Manuel Marcoux, Candice Morrison, Michel Quintard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Experiments have been performed to investigate the sorption of trichloroethene (TCE) vapor by concrete material or, more specifically, the cement mortar component. Gas-flow experiments were conducted using columns packed with small pieces of cement mortar obtained from the grinding of typical concrete material. Transport and retardation of TCE at high vapor concentrations (500 mg L-1) was compared to that of a non-reactive gas tracer (Sulfur Hexafluoride, SF6). The results show a large magnitude of retardation (retardation factor = 23) and sorption (sorption coefficient = 10.6 cm3 g-1) for TCE, compared to negligible sorption for SF6. This magnitude of sorption obtained with pollutant vapor is much bigger than the one obtained for aqueous-flow experiments conducted for water-saturated systems. The considerable sorption exhibited for TCE under vapor-flow conditions is attributed to some combination of accumulation at the air-water interface and vapor-phase adsorption, both of which are anticipated to be significant for this system given the large surface area associated with the cement mortar. Transport of both SF6 and TCE was simulated successfully with a two-region physical non-equilibrium model, consistent with the dual-medium structure of the crushed cement mortar. This work emphasizes the importance of taking into account sorption phenomena when modeling transport of volatile organic compounds through concrete material, especially in regard to assessing vapor intrusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Concrete
  • Effective diffusion
  • NAPL
  • Sorption
  • Vapor intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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