Dissolution of Entrapped DNAPLs in Variable Aperture Fractures:  Experimental Data and Empirical Model Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • An appreciation of the dissolution from entrapped nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in fractures is essential as we attempt to understand and predict the fate of NAPLs present in fractured rock systems. Eight long-term dissolution experiments using 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichloroethylene were conducted in two laboratory-scale dolomitic limestone variable aperture fractures under various conditions. Between 560 and 2600 fracture volumes of water were passed through the fractures resulting in the removal of 10-60% of the initial mass trapped. The effluent concentration profiles revealed three distinct and characteristic stages of dissolution: an initial pseudosteady stage, a transient stage, and a tailing stage. On average, 8% of the initial volume of NAPL present was removed during the initial pseudosteady stage. Data from the dissolution experiments were used in conjunction with statistical techniques to develop a continuous empirical model describing the initial pseudosteady and transient stages of dissolution. The model was used to successfully replicate effluent concentration data from two separate and independent dissolution experiments. The experimental results provide an indication of the expected dissolution behavior of entrapped NAPLs, while the developed model is a useful tool for characterizing mass transfer rates in variable aperture fractures.

publication date

  • September 2003