Influences of Flow Transients and Porous Medium Heterogeneity on Colloid-Associated Contaminant Transport in the Vadose Zone
Description: 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 porous media; (2) explore the sensitivity of colloid deposition rates to changes in porewater chemistry and colloid mineralogy; (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.
Date: June 1, 2005
Creator: Saiers, James & Ryan, Joseph
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