U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

The role of surfactants in colloidal biliquid aphrons and their transport in saturated porous medium

Chaoge Yang, Nnanake-Abasi Offiong, Xiaochen Chen, Chunpeng Zhang, Xue Liang, Kyongsu Sonu, Jun Dong
Environmental pollution 2020 v.265 pp. 114564
anionic surfactants, aquifers, dense nonaqueous phase liquids, groundwater contamination, models, particle size distribution, porous media, remediation, sodium dodecyl sulfate
In remediation of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), colloidal biliquid aphrons (CBLAs) could be added to produce a lower density nonaqueous phase which mitigate downward migration of DNAPL to non-polluted aquifers. There is still a big gap in the application of CBLAs in the remediation of actual polluted sites, especially the absence of relevant studies on its transport behavior in the sites, and its structural model has not been fully verified. These two factors could affect the effectiveness of CBLAs in the underground environment and its effect on density control. In this study, we prepared CBLAs with different surfactants and verified the structural model of CBLA based on their particle size distributions and demulsification performance. We studied the effects of particle concentrations, injection velocities, and porous media size on the migration of CBLA using the breakthrough curves and distribution profiles along the column. Experimental results indicated that surface elasticity of CBLAs was inversely proportional to the concentration of the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), which led to easier demulsification of CBLA with the increase in SDS concentration. This observation was in agreement with the verified structural model of the CBLA which constitute both internal nonionic and external anionic surfactants. Furthermore, CBLA deposition is mainly caused by interception and is not suitable for application in fine media. Low concentration of CBLA and high injection flow rate help CBLA to form a remediation area with a certain radius. This study solved the problem of DNAPLs in contaminated groundwater from the perspective of density regulation, and made contributions towards the development of combined remediation approaches using CBLAs.