Gas phase advection and dispersion in unsaturated porous media

Molly S. Costanza-Robinson, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Gas phase miscible displacement experiments were conducted to quantitatively investigate the advective and dispersive contributions to gas phase transport in unsaturated porous media over a range of soil water contents. Furthermore, the independence of measured dispersivity values was evaluated through comparison of nonreactive and reactive tracer transport. Methane was used as a nonreactive tracer, while difluoromethane (DFM) and trichloroethene (TCE) were used as reactive tracers. At soil water contents below 17%, measured dispersivity values are observed to be independent of the tracer compound and of the soil water content. Conversely, the dispersivities are tracer dependent at the highest soil water contents, wherein the values for DFM and TCE are 3 and 6 times larger than that of methane's, respectively. The significantly larger dispersivity values obtained for DFM and TCE are most likely due to rate-limited mass transfer of these compounds between the gas phase and soil water, which is not observed for methane because of its minimal water partitioning. The dispersivity values obtained here range between 0.3 and 3 cm and are similar to those reported in the literature. The results indicate that within a given "ideal transport" range, dispersivities measured at one soil water content with a given tracer may be representative of the same porous media system at other soil water contents and for other compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-1-7-9
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2002


  • Advection
  • Diffusion
  • Dispersion
  • Gas transport
  • Porous media
  • Unsaturated

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Gas phase advection and dispersion in unsaturated porous media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this