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Determining Parameters and Mechanisms of Colloid Retention and Release in Porous Media

Bradford, Scott A., Torkzaban, Saeed
Langmuir 2015 v.31 no.44 pp. 12096-12105
colloids, energy, environmental fate, hydrodynamics, ionic strength, microorganisms, models, nanoparticles, porous media, prediction, probability, roughness, surface area, torque, water flow
A modeling framework is presented to determine fundamental parameters and controlling mechanisms of colloid (microbes, clays, and nanoparticles) retention and release on surfaces of porous media that exhibit wide distributions of nanoscale chemical heterogeneity, nano- to microscale roughness, and pore water velocity. Primary and/or secondary minimum interactions in the zone of electrostatic influence were determined over the heterogeneous solid surface. The Maxwellian kinetic energy model was subsequently employed to determine the probability of immobilization and diffusive release of colloids from each of these minima. In addition, a balance of applied hydrodynamic and resisting adhesive torques was conducted to determine locations of immobilization and hydrodynamic release in the presence of spatially variable water flow and microscopic roughness. Locations for retention had to satisfy both energy and torque balance conditions for immobilization, whereas release could occur either due to diffusion or hydrodynamics. Summation of energy and torque balance results over the elementary surface area of the porous medium provided estimates for colloid retention and release parameters that are critical to predicting environmental fate, including the sticking and release efficiencies and the maximum concentration of retained colloids on the solid phase. Nanoscale roughness and chemical heterogeneity produced localized primary minimum interactions that controlled long-term retention, even when mean chemical conditions were unfavorable. Microscopic roughness played a dominant role in colloid retention under low ionic strength and high hydrodynamic conditions, especially for larger colloids.