Modeling of colloid and colloid-facilitated contaminant transport in a two-dimensional fracture with spatially variable aperture

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Abstract

Mathematical models are developed for two-dimensional transient transport of colloids, and cotransport of contaminant/colloids in a fracture-rock matrix system with spatially variable fracture aperture. The aperture in the fracture plane is considered as a lognormally distributed random variable with spatial fluctuations described by an exponential autocovariance function. Colloids are envisioned to irreversibly deposit onto fracture surfaces without penetrating the rock matrix; whereas, the contaminant is assumed to decay, sorb onto fracture surfaces and onto colloidal particles, as well as to diffuse into the rock matrix. The governing stochastic transport equations are solved numerically for each realization of the aperture fluctuations by a fully implicit finite difference scheme. Emphasis is given on the effects of variable aperture on colloid and colloid-facilitated contaminant transport. Simulated breakthrough curves of ensemble averages of several realizations show enhanced colloid transport and more pronounced fingering when colloids are subject to size exclusion from regions of small aperture size. Moreover, it is shown that an increase in the fracture aperture fluctuations leads to faster transport and increases dispersion. For the case of contaminant/colloids cotransport it is shown, for the conditions considered in this work, that colloids enhance contaminant mobility and increase contaminant dispersion.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)197-221
Number of pages25
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1995

Keywords

  • Colloid transport
  • contaminant transport
  • single fracture
  • size exclusion
  • stochastic modeling
  • variable aperture

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