We investigated three major parameters in simulating desorption behaviours: the pre-contamination period, dilution by clean water mass (dilution ratio) and the length of the time interval between dilutions, in both batch and stepwise desorption experiments using particles pre-contaminated with a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, naphthalene (NAPH). We found that the dilution ratio plays a major role in batch desorption, whereas the pre-contamination period plays a major role in stepwise desorption (SD). In addition, the diffusion process was found to be the rate-determining step for our study of SD kinetics. Based on the results of our batch experiments, we were able to derive a mathematical expression capable of correlating the SD rate constant with the length of time interval between dilutions. This expression can be applied in numerical modelling of various naturally occurring processes such as the dispersion and dilution of a heavily contaminated water mass in a marine environment due to an oil spill incident.
Keywords: desorption kinetics, dilution ratio, pollutant transport, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, rate constant