Influences of Flow Transients and Porous Medium Heterogeneity on Colloid-Associated Contaminant Transport in the Vadose Zone Page: 1 of 6
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Third Annual Report
Influences of Flow Transients and Porous Medium Heterogeneity on
Colloid-Associated Contaminant Transport in the Vadose Zone
Award Numbers: DE-FG07-02ER63492 (Yale) and DE-FG07-02ER63491 (Colorado)
Project ID: 86900
James Saiers, Yale University (PI)
Joseph Ryan, University of Colorado (Co-PI)
This report summarizes research conducted during Year 3 of a project that extends through 31
December 2005. The work described below is part of a collaborative effort funded by separate
awards to Yale University (lead institution) and the University of Colorado.
Our research is guided by an EMSP objective to improve conceptual and predictive models of
contaminant movement in vadose-zone environments. As described in the report National
Roadmap for Vadose-Zone Science and Technology [DOE, 2001], soil-water colloids are capable
of adsorbing contaminants, such as radionuclides and metals, and facilitating their migration
through the vadose zone and towards groundwater reservoirs. Our research centers on advancing
understanding of this phenomenon. In particular, we are combining mathematical modeling
with laboratory experimentation at pore and column scales to
1. elucidate the effects of porewater-flow transients on colloid mobilization in unsaturated
2. explore the sensitivity of colloid deposition rates to changes in porewater chemistry and
3. develop mathematical models appropriate for simulating colloid mobilization,
transport, and deposition under both steady-flow and transient-flow conditions;
4. identify mechanisms that govern mineral-colloid mobilization and deposition in
unsaturated porous media;
5. quantify the effects of mineral-grain geometry and surface roughness on colloid-
filtration rates; and
6. evaluate the influences of colloids on the transport of strontium and cesium (i.e., DOE-
contaminants-of-concern) through soils and sediments.
In the Years 1 and 2 of the project, we determined the role of flow transients in colloid
mobilization (Objective 1), examined the influences of pH and clay mineralogy on colloid
deposition rates (Objective 2), and developed phenomenological models capable of describing
colloid mobilization, transport, and deposition under steady and transient-flow conditions
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Saiers, James & Ryan, Joseph. Influences of Flow Transients and Porous Medium Heterogeneity on Colloid-Associated Contaminant Transport in the Vadose Zone, report, June 1, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892910/m1/1/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.