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Title: Geoelectrical Measurement of Multi-Scale Mass Transfer Parameters

Mass transfer affects contaminant transport and is thought to control the efficiency of aquifer remediation at a number of sites within the Department of Energy (DOE) complex. An improved understanding of mass transfer is critical to meeting the enormous scientific and engineering challenges currently facing DOE. Informed design of site remedies and long-term stewardship of radionuclide-contaminated sites will require new cost-effective laboratory and field techniques to measure the parameters controlling mass transfer spatially and across a range of scales. In this project, we sought to capitalize on the geophysical signatures of mass transfer. Previous numerical modeling and pilot-scale field experiments suggested that mass transfer produces a geoelectrical signature—a hysteretic relation between sampled (mobile-domain) fluid conductivity and bulk (mobile + immobile) conductivity—over a range of scales relevant to aquifer remediation. In this work, we investigated the geoelectrical signature of mass transfer during tracer transport in a series of controlled experiments to determine the operation of controlling parameters, and also investigated the use of complex-resistivity (CR) as a means of quantifying mass transfer parameters in situ without tracer experiments. In an add-on component to our grant, we additionally considered nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to help parse mobile from immobile porosities. Including themore » NMR component, our revised study objectives were to: 1. Develop and demonstrate geophysical approaches to measure mass-transfer parameters spatially and over a range of scales, including the combination of electrical resistivity monitoring, tracer tests, complex resistivity, nuclear magnetic resonance, and materials characterization; and 2. Provide mass-transfer estimates for improved understanding of contaminant fate and transport at DOE sites, such as uranium transport at the Hanford 300 Area. To achieve our objectives, we implemented a 3-part research plan involving (1) development of computer codes and techniques to estimate mass-transfer parameters from time-lapse electrical data; (2) bench-scale experiments on synthetic materials and materials from cores from the Hanford 300 Area; and (3) field demonstration experiments at the DOE’s Hanford 300 Area. In a synergistic add-on to our workplan, we analyzed data from field experiments performed at the DOE Naturita Site under a separate DOE SBR grant, on which PI Day-Lewis served as co-PI. Techniques developed for application to Hanford datasets also were applied to data from Naturita.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. U.S. Geological Survey
  2. Colorado School of Mines
  3. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  4. Oregon State
  5. Lancaster University
  6. US Geological Survey
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
US Geologicalsurvey
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Contributing Orgs:
U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado School of Mines, Oregon State University, Lancaster University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES mass transfer; dual domain; electrical resistivity