Transport and deposition of suspended particles in saturated porous media: effect of hydrodynamic forces and pore structure

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In order to investigate the effects of pore structure and hydrodynamic forces on particle transport and deposition, an experimental study on the transport and deposition of suspended particles (SP) in saturated porous media (quartz sand and glass beads) was conducted under five different flow velocities at room temperature (22–25 °C). Silt particles with a mode of 10.7 μm diameter and fluorescein (as the dissolved tracer (DT)) were injected into the columns in short pulses. The SP transfer parameters were compared to the DT one. All the parameters (dispersivity, recovery rate, and deposition rate) obtained from the breakthrough data varied with the flow rate. The breakthrough curves were well described by an analytical solution of the advective–dispersive equation with a first-order deposition kinetic. The results showed that the transport of the SP was faster than the DT when the flow velocity reached a critical value which was different between the glass beads and quartz sand. The mean diameter of the recovered particles and the longitudinal dispersivity increase with flow rate; In addition, the recovery rate of SP is higher in the glass beads than in the quartz sand even under similar porosities. This study highlights the significance of pore structure and hydrodynamic forces in transport and deposition processes of SP.

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