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A model for stripping multicomponent vapor from unsaturated soil with free and trapped residual nonaqueous phase liquid

TitleA model for stripping multicomponent vapor from unsaturated soil with free and trapped residual nonaqueous phase liquid
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsNg C-O, Mei CC, Ostendorf DW
JournalWater Resources Research
Start Page385
Date Published02/1999

We present a model for the multicomponent vapor transport due to air venting in an unsaturated zone in the presence of free and trapped phases of residual nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL). On the microscale the soil particles are assumed to form spherical aggregates with micropores filled with immobile water, trapped phases of NAPL and air. The interaggregate space is occupied with mobile air, and a thin film of free NAPL adheres on the aggregate surface. While the free NAPL can readily be in equilibrium with macropore vapor, the mass transfer from immobile phases in aggregates is rate-limited by aqueous diffusion. This model enables us to predict the vapor concentrations of various chemical species and the free NAPL saturation over the macroscale, based on the detailed understanding of the aqueous concentrations of the species and the trapped NAPL saturation within the aggregates. The model is compared favorably with some experimental data of sparging multicomponent vapor out of an intact core taken from a contaminated site. The distinctive features of multicomponent transport, clearly exhibited by the data, are further examined in the simulations of a hypothetical case of three-aromatic vapor transport under a radial flow field. It is found that while the vapor concentration of the most volatile component drops monotonically with time, those of the less volatile may rise as their mole fractions in the NAPL increase. The vapor concentration of a heavy component may have a local maximum at the evaporation front of the free NAPL. In the case of radial flow the free NAPL has two receding evaporation fronts. Condensation of the heavy component downstream of the far front causes a temporary increase of its total concentration there. With trapped NAPL and soil aggregation the macroscale transport is retarded, and the effluent concentrations end up in noticeable tailing.