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A Field-Validated Model for In Situ Transport of Polymer-Stabilized nZVI and Implications for Subsurface Injection

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journal contribution
posted on 02.07.2013, 00:00 by Magdalena M. Krol, Andrew J. Oleniuk, Chris M. Kocur, Brent E. Sleep, Peter Bennett, Zhong Xiong, Denis M. O’Carroll
Nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) particles have significant potential to remediate contaminated source zones. However, the transport of these particles through porous media is not well understood, especially at the field scale. This paper describes the simulation of a field injection of carboxylmethyl cellulose (CMC) stabilized nZVI using a 3D compositional simulator, modified to include colloidal filtration theory (CFT). The model includes composition dependent viscosity and spatially and temporally variable velocity, appropriate for the simulation of push–pull tests (PPTs) with CMC stabilized nZVI. Using only attachment efficiency as a fitting parameter, model results were in good agreement with field observations when spatially variable viscosity effects on collision efficiency were included in the transport modeling. This implies that CFT-modified transport equations can be used to simulate stabilized nZVI field transport. Model results show that an increase in solution viscosity, resulting from injection of CMC stabilized nZVI suspension, affects nZVI mobility by decreasing attachment as well as changing the hydraulics of the system. This effect is especially noticeable with intermittent pumping during PPTs. Results from this study suggest that careful consideration of nZVI suspension formulation is important for optimal delivery of nZVI which can be facilitated with the use of a compositional simulator.