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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Jul 1;43(13):5060-6.

Oil-in-water emulsions for encapsulated delivery of reactive iron particles.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, 200 College Avenue, Room 113, Anderson Hall, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.


Treatment of dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) source zones using suspensions of reactive iron particles relies upon effective transport of the nano- to submicrometer scale iron particles within the subsurface. Recognition that poor subsurface transport of iron particles results from particle-particle and particle-soil interactions permits development of strategies which increase transport. In this work, experiments were conducted to assess a novel approach for encapsulated delivery of iron particles within porous media using oil-in-water emulsions. Objectives of this study included feasibility demonstration of producing kinetically stable, iron-containing, oil-in-water emulsions and evaluating the transport of these iron-containing, oil-in-water emulsions within water-saturated porous media. Emulsions developed in this study have mean droplet diameters between 1 and 2 microm, remain kinetically stable for > 1.5 h, and possess densities (0.996-1.00 g/mL at 22 degrees C) and dynamic viscosities (2.4-9.3 mPa x s at 22 degrees C and 20 s(-1)) that are favorable to transport within DNAPL source zones. Breakthrough curves and post-experiment extractions from column experiments conducted with medium and fine sands suggest little emulsion retention (< 0.20% wt) at a Darcy velocity of 0.4 m/day. These findings demonstrate that emulsion encapsulation is a promising method for delivery of iron particles and warrants further investigation.

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