Colloid Facilitated Transport in Natural Porous Media: Fundamental Phenomena and Modelling

  • Daniel Grolimund
  • Kurt Barmettler
  • Michal Borkovec


Reactive transport phenomena, in particular, the transport of contaminants, are of fundamental interest in environmental sciences. The presence of hazardous chemicals in the subsurface environment has become an important driving force to develop reactive transport models capable to predict their fate (Dagan 1989; Jury and Roth 1990; Sardin et al. 1991; Knox et al. 1993; Appelo and Postma 1996; Lichtner et al. 1996). These models represent the natural porous medium as two types of phases: (i) immobile solid phases and (ii) mobile liquid (and/or gaseous) phases. Depending on the affinity to the respective phases, chemical species distribute between the different phases and the corresponding phase boundaries. Accordingly, the transport of chemicals is dictated by partitioning of the mobile dissolved species and the stationary species adsorbed to the solid phase. Distribution into the solid phases and interfacial reactions result in a reduction of the dissolved contaminant concentrations in the liquid phase, and accordingly in a slow-down of the contaminant spreading.


Porous Medium Colloidal Particle Reactive Transport Particle Mobilisation Particle Release 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Appelo CAJ, Postma D (1996) Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution. A.A. Balkema, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  2. Birkeland PW (1984) Soils and geomorphology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Bresler E, McNeal BL, Carter DL (1982) Saline and sodic soils. Principlesdynamics-modeling. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  4. Buddemeier RW, Hunt JR (1988) Transport of colloidal contaminants in groundwater: Radionuclide migration at the Nevada Test Site. Appl Geochem 3:535–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Champ DR, Merritt WF, Young JL (1982) Potential for the rapid transport of plutonium in groundwater as demonstrated by core column studies. In: W Lutze (ed), Scientific basis for radioactive waste management. Elsevier, pp 745–754Google Scholar
  6. Champlin JBF, Eichholz GG (1968) The movement of radioactive sodium and ruthenium through a simulated aquifer. Water Resour Res 4:147–158Google Scholar
  7. Corapcioglu MY, Jiang S (1993) Colloid-facilitated groundwater contaminant transport. Water Resour Res 29:2215–2226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dagan G (1989) Flow and transport in porous formations. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. de Jonge H, Jacobsen OH, de Jonge LW, Moldrup P (1998) Particle-facilitated transport of prochloraz in undisturbed sandy loam soil columns. J Environ Qual 27(6):1495–1503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elimelech M, Gregory J, Jia X, Williams RA (1995) Particle deposition and aggregation. Measurement, modelling, and simulation. Butterworth-Heinemann, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Fauré MH, Sardin M, Vitorge P (1996) Transport of clay particles and radioelements in a salinity gradient: experiments and simulations. J Contam Hydrol 21:255–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goldenberg LC, Magaritz M, Amiel AJ, Mandel S (1984) Changes in hydraulic conductivity of laboratory sand-clay mixtures caused by a seawater-freshwater interface. J Hydrol 70:329–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grolimund D, Borkovec M (1999) Long term release kinetics of colloidal particles from natural porous media. Environ Sci Technol 33(22):4054–4060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grolimund D, Borkovec M (2001) Release and transport of colloidal particles in natural porous media. 1. Modeling. Water Resour Res 37(3):559–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grolimund D, Borkovec M (2005) Colloid-facilitated transport of strongly sorbing contaminants in natural porous media: mathematical modeling and laboratory column experiments. Environ Sci Technol 39(17):6378–6386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grolimund D, Borkovec M (2006) Release of colloidal particles in natural porous media by monovalent and divalent cations. J Contam Hydrol 87(3–4):155–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grolimund D, Elimelech M, Borkovec M (2001a) Aggregation and deposition kinetics of mobile colloidal particles in natural porous media. Colloids and Surfaces, A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 19(1–2):179–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grolimund D, Barmettler K, Borkovec M (2001b) Release and transport of colloidal particles in natural porous media. 2. Experimental results and effects of ligands. Water Resour Res 37(3):571–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grolimund D, Borkovec M, Barmettler K, Sticher H (1996) Colloid-facilitated transport of strongly sorbing contaminants in natural porous media: a laboratory column study. Environ Sci Technol 30(10):3118–3123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grolimund D, Elimelech M, Borkovec M, Barmettler K, Kretzschmar R, Sticher H (1998) Transport of in situ mobilized colloidal particles in packed soil columns. Environ Sci Technol 32(22):3562–3569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gschwend PM, Reynolds MD (1987) Monodisperse ferrous phosphaste colloids in an anoxic groundwater plume. J Contam Hydrol 1:309–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones FO (1964) Influence of chemical composition of water on clay blocking of permeability. J Petrol Technol 16:441–446Google Scholar
  23. Jury WA, Roth K (1990) Transfer functions and solute movement trough soils: Theory and applications. Birkhäuser, BaselGoogle Scholar
  24. Kersting AB, Efurd DW, Finnegant DL, Rokop DJ, Smith DK, Thompson JL (1999) Migration of plutonium in ground water at the Nevada Test Site. Nature 397:56–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Khilar KC, Fogler HS (1987) Colloidally induced fines migration in porous media. Rev Chem Eng 4(1&2):41–108Google Scholar
  26. Kjellander R, Marcelja S, Pashley RM, Quirk JP (1988) Double-layer ion correlation forces restrict calcium clay swelling. J Phys Chem 92:6489–6492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knox RC, Sabatini DA, Canter LW (1993) Subsurface transport and fate processes. Lewis Publishers, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  28. Kretzschmar R, Borkovec M, Grolimund D, Elimelech M (1999) Mobile subsurface colloids and their role in contaminant transport. Adv Agron 66:121–193Google Scholar
  29. Lenhart JJ, Saiers JE (2003) Colloid mobilization in water-saturated porous media under transient chemical conditions. Environ Sci Technol 37(12):2780–2787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lichtner PC, Steefel CI, Oelkers EH (eds) (1996) Reactive transport in porous media. Reviews in mineralogy, 34. The Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Muecke TW (1979) Formation fines and factors controlling their movement in porous media. J Petrol Technol 31(2):144–150Google Scholar
  32. Mungan N (1965) Permeability reduction through changes in pH and salinity. J Petrol Technol 17:1449–1453Google Scholar
  33. Nightingale HI, Bianchi WC (1977) Ground-water turbidity resulting from artificial recharge. Ground Water 15:146–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Quirk JP (1994) Interparticle forces: A basis for the interpretation of soil physical behavior. Adv Agron 53:121–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Quirk JP, Schofield RK (1955) The effect of electrolyte concentration on soil permeability. J Soil Sci 62:163–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reed MG (1972) Stabilization of formation clays with hydroxy-aluminium solutions. J Petrol Technol: 860–864Google Scholar
  37. Roy SB, Dzombak DA (1997) Chemical factors influencing colloid-facilitated transport of contaminants in porous media. Environ Sci Technol 31(3):656–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roy SB, Dzombak DA (1998) Sorption nonequilibrium effects on colloid-enhanced transport of hydrophobic organic compounds in porous media. J Contam Hydrol 30:179–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ryan JN, Elimelech M (1996) Colloid mobilization and transport in groundwater. Colloids and Surfaces, A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 107:1–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saiers JE, Hornberger GM (1996) The role of colloidal kaolinite in the transport of cesium through laboratory sand columns. Water Resour Res 32(1):33–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sardin M, Schweich D, Leij FJ, van Genuchten MT (1991) Modeling the nonequilibrium transport of linearly interacting solutes in porous media: a review. Water Resour Res 27(9):2287–2307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sen TK, Khilar KC (2006) Review on subsurface colloids and colloid-associated contaminant transport in saturated porous media. Adv Coll Interf Sci 119:71–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sen TK, Shanbhag S, Khilar KC (2004) Subsurface colloids in groundwater contamination: A mathematical model. Colloids and Surfaces, A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 232(1):29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shainberg I, Rhoades JD, Prather RJ (1980) Effect of low electrolyte concentration on clay dispersion and hydraulic conductivity of a sodic soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 45:273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. van de Weerd H, Leijnse A, van Riemsdijk WH (1998) Transport of reactive colloids and contaminants in groundwater: effect of nonlinear kinetic interactions. J Contam Hydrol 32:313–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van der Lee J, Ledoux E, de Marsily G, de Cayeux MD, van de Weerd H, Fraters B, Dodds J, Rodier E, Sardin M, Hernandez A (1994) A bibliographical review of colloid transport through the geosphere, European Commission, Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  47. Vinten AJA, Nye PH (1985) Transport and deposition of dilute colloidal suspensions in soils. J Soil Sci 36:531–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wiesner MR, Grant MC, Hutchins SR (1996) Reduced permeability in groundwater remediation systems: role of mobilized colloids and injected chemicals. Environ Sci Technol 30:3184–3191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wu Q, Borkovec M, Sticher H (1993) On particle-size distribution in soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:883–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Grolimund
    • 1
  • Kurt Barmettler
    • 2
  • Michal Borkovec
    • 3
  1. 1.Waste Management Laboratory, Nuclear Energy and Safety Department and Swiss Light SourcePaul Scherrer InstituteVilligenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, Soil ChemistrySwiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Inorganic, Analytical, and Applied ChemistryUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

Personalised recommendations