Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp 6895–6910 | Cite as

Numerical studies on kinetics of sorption and dissolution and their interactions for estimating mass removal of toluene from entrapped soil pores

  • M. Vasudevan
  • G. Suresh Kumar
  • Indumathi M. Nambi
Original Paper


When the non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminant is entrapped in soil pores, their release to the subsurface environment is mainly limited by interphase mass transfer such as dissolution and sorption. Sorption onto the aquifer material plays an important role as a retardation mechanism in subsurface contaminant transport processes. Considering the heterogeneity associated with aquifer properties as well as contaminant source distribution, long-term contamination is an inevitable consequence of mass transfer limitation of residual mass from soil micropores. A comprehensive numerical model is presented in this study for understanding the kinetic nature of dissolution and sorption of hydrophobic hydrocarbons and their interactions in order to estimate the rate and extent of mass removal from different phases. The results showed that sorption by soils and sediments having different physicochemical properties generally follow non-linear behavior. It is observed from the study that sorption non-linearity can be effectively incorporated by the two-site kinetic model rather than combination of linear and non-linear sorption isotherms. Even though initial phase of mass transfer is dissolution-dominated, the extended tailing of concentration at higher pore volumes is controlled by non-equilibrium sorption, which is better explained by the two-site kinetic model.


Dissolution Residual saturation Sorption kinetics Toluene 


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Vasudevan
    • 1
  • G. Suresh Kumar
    • 2
  • Indumathi M. Nambi
    • 3
  1. 1.EWRE Division, Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennai-36India
  2. 2.Department of Ocean EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennai-36India
  3. 3.EWRE Division, Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennai-36India

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