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Dissolved gases as partitioning tracers for determination of hydrogeological parameters

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Elaine Perry


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In this study, dissolved Kr and SF6 gases were used to determine various hydrogeological parameters of laboratory columns under water-saturated and partially saturated conditions as a function of the flow velocity. The dissolved gases behaved conservatively in saturated columns but were significantly retarded in unsaturated conditions as a direct function of the Henry's law constant (KH) and the ratio of column pore spaces filled with air and water (Vg/Vw). Lower aqueous diffusion coefficients for SF6 compared to that for Kr also resulted in significant rate-limited mass transport across gas-water interface. This effect was exacerbated at higher flow velocities as was indicated by the asymmetric shape of breakthrough curves, more so in the case of SF6. A nonequilibrium advective-dispersive transport model accurately described tracer breakthrough and was used to estimate parameters such as final Vg/Vw under partially saturated conditions and partitioning rates. Internally consistent model results were obtained for both dissolved gases despite the wide range in physical properties (e.g., KH and aqueous diffusion coefficients), suggesting that dissolved Kr and SF6 may be used in conjunction to delineate and validate aquifer characteristics simultaneously from a single pulse injection of the tracer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vulava VM, Perry E, Romanek CS, Seaman JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science & Technology

Year: 2002

Volume: 36

Issue: 2

Pages: 254-262

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/es0107024


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