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Release of colloids in saturated porous media under transient hydro-chemical conditions: A pore-scale study

Version 3 2023-10-11, 10:14
Version 2 2023-10-10, 08:34
Version 1 2023-09-18, 11:03
journal contribution
revised on 2023-10-11, 10:13 and posted on 2023-10-11, 10:14 authored by Safna Nishad, Riyadh I. Al-Raoush, Motasem Y.D. Alazaiza

The deposition and consequent release of colloids pose a significant challenge to the environment, groundwater quality and human health. Subsurface soil contains numerous types of colloids that exhibit a diverse range of interaction favorability with the soil grains and their impact on release behavior remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate, at the pore-scale, the impact of colloid interaction favorability on colloid deposition and subsequent release in response to perturbations of flow rate and solution chemistry in saturated porous media. Pore-scale experiments were conducted using a micromodel that is geometrically representative of a real sand-stone rock. Favorable, medium-favorable and unfavorable colloids (i.e., repulsion absent, repulsion at long-range of separation distances and attraction absent with the micromodel surface, respectively) were deposited in the micromodel and then a series of colloid release experiments were conducted at different conditions including increasing the flow rate, decreasing the ionic strength and increasing the solution pH. Favorable colloids exhibited extensive deposition on the collector center where the flow streamlines are parallel to the collector surface, as adhesion forces overcome hydrodynamic forces. However, at medium and high ionic strength, deposition in Forward Flow Stagnation Zone (FFSZ) was dominant for unfavorable colloids as the hydrodynamic forces are negligible. Pore-scale images showed that, upon perturbations in flow rate and solution chemistry, colloids that were initially deposited on collector centers were more susceptible to release as compared to colloids that were initially deposited in FFSZs. The negligible hydrodynamic drag forces in FFSZ and deep primary minimum interaction at short separation distances were the major factors that hindered the release of colloids in FFSZ under transient hydro-chemical conditions. The intensity of colloid deposition and release decreases as the favorability of colloids decreases and as the ionic strength decrease for unfavorable colloids. This study provides a clear insight to the pore-scale colloid deposition and release mechanisms during transient hydro-chemical conditions that help in the modeling of environmental and engineering applications including managed aquifer recharge, groundwater contamination and wastewater treatment processes.

Other Information

Published in: Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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  • Qatar University
  • College of Engineering - QU

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