Saturated Particle Transport in Porous Media: An Investigation into the Influence of Flow Direction and Particle Size Distribution

Lead PI: Patricia Culligan

Unit Affiliation: Columbia Engineering

January 2010 - December 2014
North America
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The real-time spatial resolution of 1-micro(m) fluorescent particles, 3-micro(m), 6-micro(m) , 1-25-micro(m) mixed particles, and 1-micro(m) with 6-micro(m) particles present, and 6-microm with 1-microm particles present, were determined under one-dimensional, steady state flow conditions through saturated beds of rough glass beads under different flow directions. A kinetic particle transport model was developed, which assumed both reversible and irreversible particle attachment, and accounted for a dual particle population. The model was fitted to the experimental results to quantify the influence of flow direction and particle size distribution on macro-scale attachment kinetics. To explore particle attachment kinetics at the micro-scale, the Fluent software was used to generate a velocity distribution field in the vicinity of rough-walled collector and a Fortran code was written to carry out microscopic particle tracking under two-dimensional, steady-state flow conditions.

OUTCOMES: The results confirm the hypothesis that particle attachment kinetics is influenced by flow direction, as well as particle size. The results of the particle tracking simulations also confirmed that particle attachment mechanisms at the micro-scale vary with flow direction and particle size. Overall, the research indicates the need for sophisticated particle fate and transport models in order to capture the physics of particle transport under realistic, three-dimensional transport conditions.