Relationships between gas-liquid interfacial surface area, liquid saturation, and light transmission in variably saturated porous media

Michael R. Niemet, Mark L. Rockhold, Noam Weisbrod, John S. Selker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Liquid saturation and gas-liquid interfacial area are important parameters for evaluating the transport and fate of contaminants in unsaturated subsurface environments. Recent findings indicate that interfacial surface area controls the relative degree of transmitted light in laboratory systems containing translucent porous media. Equations are derived to estimate the specific gas-liquid interfacial area from the area under the primary-drainage branch of the Seff-h characteristic curve as parameterized using common water retention functions. The total area under the curve provides the maximum available specific gas-liquid interfacial area available at residual saturation, which can be incorporated into the relationship to determine the gas-liquid interfacial area at intermediate degrees of saturation via light transmission. Experimental results, and analysis of external data sets, support these findings. Closed-form relationships are presented as enhancements to a recent method for determination of liquid saturations above residual using light transmission. A physically based model is developed and tested for the quantification of liquid contents below residual saturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-1-10-12
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Characteristic curve
  • Gas-liquid interfacial surface area
  • Light transmission
  • Liquid saturation
  • Residual saturation
  • Unsaturated porous media

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