The addition of an environmental remediation modifier—polymer solution—to a Newtonian fluid expands the distribution of remediation agents injected in situ into saturated aquifers (affecting plume velocity and deformation), enhancing remediation efficiency. However, the effect of the flow properties of the polymer solution on the macroscopic transverse dispersion remains poorly understood. In this work, a transparent thin-layer two-dimensional sandbox was constructed to simulate the aquifer, and the transverse distribution range of colored solute—permanganate solution and viscous shear-thinning fluid (permanganate solution + xanthan gum)—was captured in real-time by a camera device during transport in porous media. The boundary dispersion coefficient was obtained by fitting a breakthrough curve of the boundary concentration, while the overall plume dispersion coefficient was determined via image moment analysis. The effects of fluid rheology and heterogeneity on the transverse mixing of the plume were analyzed, and the mechanism of viscoelasticity-induced transverse dispersion and mixing enhancement was summarized. The results indicated that the anisotropic stress generated by polymer fluid deformation at high water velocity increased the fluctuation and transverse distribution of the plume, while higher-viscosity polymers increased the initial extrusion swelling and additional compressive stress, covering a larger area. Xanthan gum enhanced the transverse distribution of the plume mainly through initial injection-extrusion expansion effect, viscoelastic stability of the post-injection part, and streamline crossing attributed to elastic turbulence. This study also verified that the shear-thinning fluid enhanced the effect of transverse dispersion and mixing under heterogeneous conditions, providing insights applicable to groundwater remediation.
Transverse mixing zone under dispersion in porous media: Effects of medium heterogeneity and fluid rheology
Zhipeng Du, Jiajun Chen, Shengnan Ke; Transverse mixing zone under dispersion in porous media: Effects of medium heterogeneity and fluid rheology. Physics of Fluids 1 April 2023; 35 (4): 043105. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0141837
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