Comparison of fluid-fluid interfacial areas measured with X-ray microtomography and interfacial partitioning tracer tests for the same samples

Kieran McDonald, Kenneth C. Carroll, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two different methods are currently used for measuring interfacial areas between immiscible fluids within 3-D porous media, high-resolution microtomographic imaging and interfacial partitioning tracer tests (IPTT). Both methods were used in this study to measure nonwetting/wetting interfacial areas for a natural sand. The microtomographic imaging was conducted on the same packed columns that were used for the IPTTs. This is in contrast to prior studies comparing the two methods, for which in all cases different samples were used for the two methods. In addition, the columns were imaged before and after the IPTTs to evaluate the potential impacts of the tracer solution on fluid configuration and attendant interfacial area. The interfacial areas measured using IPTT are ∼5 times larger than the microtomographic-measured values, which is consistent with previous work. Analysis of the image data revealed no significant impact of the tracer solution on NAPL configuration or interfacial area. Other potential sources of error were evaluated, and all were demonstrated to be insignificant. The disparity in measured interfacial areas between the two methods is attributed to the limitation of the microtomography method to characterize interfacial area associated with microscopic surface roughness due to resolution constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5393-5399
Number of pages7
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Keywords

  • Multiphase
  • NAPL
  • X-ray
  • immiscible
  • interfacial area
  • microtomography
  • partitioning tracer
  • tracer test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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