The effects of surfactant formulation on nonequilibrium NAPL solubilization

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Surfactant-enhanced aquifer remediation (SEAR) involves the injection of surfactant solutions into aquifers contaminated with nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPL). Batch and column experiments were used to assess the effect of surfactant formulation on the rate of NAPL solubilization. The experimental variables were surfactant type, surfactant concentration, electrolyte concentration, and cosolvent concentration. Model equations were proposed and solved to describe solubilization under the conditions of each type of experiment. Using these models, a solubilization rate constant, kb, and an overall mass transfer rate coefficient, k, were estimated from the batch and column experiments, respectively. The solubilization rate constant was consistently sensitive to surfactant type, surfactant concentration, and electrolyte concentration. The estimated solubilization rate constants varied over two orders of magnitude. The results of the column experiments also were sensitive to the surfactant formulation. Variations in the fitted mass transfer rate coefficient parameter, β0, were related to variations in the surfactant formulations. A comparison between the results of the batch and column experiments yields an apparent relationship between β0 and kb. This relationship suggests that the mass transfer rate coefficient is directly related to the formulation of the surfactant solution. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Contaminant Hydrology