Multiphase flow and transport caused by spontaneous gas phase growth in the presence of dense non-aqueous phase liquid
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Disconnected bubbles or ganglia of trapped gas may occur below the top of the capillary fringe through a number of mechanisms. In the presence of dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL), the disconnected gas phase experiences mass transfer of dissolved gases, including volatile components from the DNAPL. The properties of the gas phase interface can also change. This work shows for the first time that when seed gas bubbles exist spontaneous gas phase growth can be expected to occur and can significantly affect water-gas-DNAPL distributions, fluid flow, and mass transfer. Source zone behaviour was observed in three different experiments performed in a 2-dimensional flow cell. In each case, a DNAPL pool was created in a zone of larger glass beads over smaller glass beads, which served as a capillary barrier. In one experiment effluent water samples were analyzed to determine the vertical concentration profile of the plume above the pool. The experiments effectively demonstrated a) a cycle of spontaneous gas phase expansion and vertical advective mobilization of gas bubbles and ganglia above the DNAPL source zone, b) DNAPL redistribution caused by gas phase growth and mobilization, and c) that these processes can significantly affect mass transport from a NAPL source zone.
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