Impact of Mineral Precipitation on Flow and Mixing in Porous Media Determined by Microcomputed Tomography and MRI
Bray, Joshua A.
Lauchnor, Ellen G.
Redden, George D.
Codd, Sarah L.
Seymour, Joseph D.
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Precipitation reactions influence transport properties in porous media and can be coupled to advective and dispersive transport. For example, in subsurface environments, mixing of groundwater and injected solutions can induce mineral supersaturation of constituents and drive precipitation reactions. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microcomputed tomography (μ-CT) were employed as complementary techniques to evaluate advection, dispersion, and formation of precipitate in a 3D porous media flow cell. Two parallel fluids were flowed concentrically through packed glass beads under two relative flow rates with Na2CO3 and CaCl2 in the inner and outer fluids, respectively. CaCO3 became supersaturated and formed a precipitate at the mixing interface between the two solutions. Spatial maps of changing local velocity fields and dispersion in the flow cell were generated from MRI, while high resolution μ-CT imaging visualized the precipitate formed in the porous media. Formation of a precipitate minimized dispersive and advective transport between the two fluids and the shape of the precipitation front was influenced by the relative flow rates. This work demonstrates that the combined use of MRI and μ-CT can be highly complementary in the study of reactive transport processes in porous media.
Bray JM, Lauchnor EG, Redden GD, Gerlach R, Fujita Y, Codd SL, Seymour JD, “Impact of Mineral Precipitation on Flow and Mixing in Porous Media Determined by Microcomputed Tomography and MRI,” Environmental Science & Technology, 2017 February 7; 51 (3), 1562-1569. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02999