# Scale dependence of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient:Evidence and preliminary interpretation

## Abstract

The exchange of solute mass (through molecular diffusion) between fluid in fractures and fluid in the rock matrix is called matrix diffusion. Owing to the orders-of-magnitude slower flow velocity in the matrix compared to fractures, matrix diffusion can significantly retard solute transport in fractured rock, and therefore is an important process for a variety of problems, including remediation of subsurface contamination and geological disposal of nuclear waste. The effective matrix diffusion coefficient (molecular diffusion coefficient in free water multiplied by matrix tortuosity) is an important parameter for describing matrix diffusion, and in many cases largely determines overall solute transport behavior. While matrix diffusion coefficient values measured from small rock samples in the laboratory are generally used for modeling field-scale solute transport in fractured rock (Boving and Grathwohl, 2001), several research groups recently have independently found that effective matrix diffusion coefficients much larger than laboratory measurements are needed to match field-scale tracer-test data (Neretnieks, 2002; Becker and Shapiro, 2000; Shapiro, 2001; Liu et al., 2003, 2004a). In addition to the observed enhancement, Liu et al. (2004b), based on a relatively small number of field-test results, reported that the effective matrix diffusion coefficient might be scale dependent, and, like permeability and dispersivity,more »

- Authors:

- Publication Date:

- Research Org.:
- Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)

- Sponsoring Org.:
- USDOE

- OSTI Identifier:
- 923282

- Report Number(s):
- LBNL-60813

R&D Project: 0; BnR: YN0100000; TRN: US0801797

- DOE Contract Number:
- DE-AC02-05CH11231

- Resource Type:
- Conference

- Resource Relation:
- Conference: 11th International High-Level Radioactive WasteManagement Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 08/15/2006

- Country of Publication:
- United States

- Language:
- English

- Subject:
- 58; CONTAMINATION; DIFFUSION; FRACTURES; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; MANAGEMENT; PERMEABILITY; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; SIMULATION; SOLUTES; TRANSPORT; VELOCITY; WATER

### Citation Formats

```
Liu, Hui-Hai, Zhang, Yingqi, and Molz, Fred J.
```*Scale dependence of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient:Evidence and preliminary interpretation*. United States: N. p., 2006.
Web.

```
Liu, Hui-Hai, Zhang, Yingqi, & Molz, Fred J.
```*Scale dependence of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient:Evidence and preliminary interpretation*. United States.

```
Liu, Hui-Hai, Zhang, Yingqi, and Molz, Fred J. Sun .
"Scale dependence of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient:Evidence and preliminary interpretation". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/923282.
```

```
@article{osti_923282,
```

title = {Scale dependence of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient:Evidence and preliminary interpretation},

author = {Liu, Hui-Hai and Zhang, Yingqi and Molz, Fred J.},

abstractNote = {The exchange of solute mass (through molecular diffusion) between fluid in fractures and fluid in the rock matrix is called matrix diffusion. Owing to the orders-of-magnitude slower flow velocity in the matrix compared to fractures, matrix diffusion can significantly retard solute transport in fractured rock, and therefore is an important process for a variety of problems, including remediation of subsurface contamination and geological disposal of nuclear waste. The effective matrix diffusion coefficient (molecular diffusion coefficient in free water multiplied by matrix tortuosity) is an important parameter for describing matrix diffusion, and in many cases largely determines overall solute transport behavior. While matrix diffusion coefficient values measured from small rock samples in the laboratory are generally used for modeling field-scale solute transport in fractured rock (Boving and Grathwohl, 2001), several research groups recently have independently found that effective matrix diffusion coefficients much larger than laboratory measurements are needed to match field-scale tracer-test data (Neretnieks, 2002; Becker and Shapiro, 2000; Shapiro, 2001; Liu et al., 2003, 2004a). In addition to the observed enhancement, Liu et al. (2004b), based on a relatively small number of field-test results, reported that the effective matrix diffusion coefficient might be scale dependent, and, like permeability and dispersivity, it seems to increases with test scale. This scale-dependence has important implications for large-scale solute transport in fractured rock. Although a number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the enhancement of the effective matrix diffusion coefficient, the potential scale dependence and its mechanisms are not fully investigated at this stage. The major objective of this study is to again demonstrate (based on more data published in the literature than those used in Liu et al. [2004b]) the potential scale dependence of the effective matrix-diffusion coefficient, and to develop a preliminary explanation for this scale-dependent behavior.},

doi = {},

journal = {},

number = ,

volume = ,

place = {United States},

year = {Sun Apr 30 00:00:00 EDT 2006},

month = {Sun Apr 30 00:00:00 EDT 2006}

}