The use of shear thinning fluids (STFs) containing xanthan is a potential enhancement for emplacing a solute amendment near the water table and within the capillary fringe. Most research to date related to STF behavior has involved saturated and confined conditions. A series of flow cell experiments were conducted to investigate STF emplacement in variable saturated homogeneous and layered heterogeneous systems. Besides flow visualization using dyes, amendment concentrations and pressure data were obtained at several locations. The experiments showed that injection of STFs considerably improved the subsurface distribution near the water table by mitigating preferential flow through higher permeability zones compared to no-polymer injections. The phosphate amendment migrated with the xanthan SFT without retardation. Despite the high viscosity of the STF, no excessive mounding or preferential flow were observed in the unsaturated zone. The STOMP simulator was able to predict the experimentally observed fluid displacement and amendment concentrations reasonably well. Cross flow between layers could be interpreted as the main mechanism to transport STFs into lower permeability layers based on the observed pressure gradient and concentration data in layers of differing hydraulic conductivity.
Revised: February 12, 2015 |
Published: August 19, 2014
Oostrom M., M.J. Truex, V.R. Vermeul, L. Zhong, G.D. Tartakovsky, and T.W. Wietsma. 2014.Remedial Amendment Delivery near the Water Table Using Shear Thinning Fluids: Experiments and Numerical Simulations.Environmental Processes 1, no. 4:331-351.PNNL-SA-103590.doi:10.1007/s40710-014-0031-9