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Journal of Porous Media

Impact factor: 1.035

ISSN Print: 1091-028X
ISSN Online: 1934-0508

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Journal of Porous Media

DOI: 10.1615/JPorMedia.v11.i8.30
pages 733-750

Role of Geometry of Capillary Bundles on Flow Reversal in Electrokinetic Soil Reclamation: A Comparative Study Based on the Microscopic Scale

Mario A. Oyanader
Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidad Catolica del Norte, 0610 Antofagasta, Chile
Pedro Arce
Chemical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN 38505, USA
Andrew Dzurik
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32310-6046, USA


In this contribution, we focus on a fundamental analysis of flow regimes possibly found at the microscopic scale in electrokinetic soil remediation. To accomplish this objective, a capillary bundle with three different geometries (i.e., rectangular, cylindrical, and annular) has been used to describe the microscopic-level structure of the soil domain. The analysis considers the simultaneous effects of different transport driving forces responsible for the motion of the bulk fluid and solute species, i.e., electro-osmosis, electromigration, buoyancy, and advection. The presence of these collaborative and competing forces, usually ignored or not taken into account completely, promotes distinct flow regimes that may explain important field test results. Several numerical examples are used to illustrate the flow situations found in the system for a selection of values of the parameter space. From the analysis and comparison of these graphic representations, a qualitative and semiquantitative description of the different flow regimes inside the capillary channel is obtained. In particular, the role of the capillary geometry on flow reversal is analyzed in detail, and its implications for mixing as a possible cause of lowering efficiency in soil cleaning by electrokinetic-based methods are highlighted.