Laboratory and numerical investigations of air sparging using MTBE as a tracer

A. P. Mortensen, Karsten Høgh Jensen, T. O. Sonnenborg, E. Arvin

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Air sparging experiments were conducted in a laboratory column to investigate air now and mass transfer behavior in different types of sand at different air injection rates. Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was applied as a tracer, and by measuring the volatilization and the mean air content during the experiments, the air flow pattern and its influence on mass transfer were assessed. The experimental results showed large differences among the sand types. In fine sand, the mean air content was high and the volatilization of MTBE was rapid with total recovery after a few hours. In coarse sand, the mean air content was low and the volatilization of MTBE was limited. The results indicate two different air flow distributions. In fine-grained materials, a uniform air distribution can be expected compared to coarse-grained materials where isolated air channels will limit the mass transfer. Afterwards, the experiments were simulated using the numerical multiphase flow code T2VOC, and the results compared to those obtained in the laboratory. The experiments with fine sand were simulated well, while for coarser sand types the volatilization was highly overestimated. The differences between model and laboratory results were mainly attributed to the nonuniformity of the air saturation and the neglection of kinetics in the mass transfer formulation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGround Water Monitoring & Remediation
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)87-95
    Publication statusPublished - 2000



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