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Hydraulic Properties of Porous Media Saturated with Nanoparticle-Stabilized Air-Water Foam

School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marco Ragazzi
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1317;
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
PDF [4414 KB, uploaded 14 December 2016]


The foam generated by the mixture of air and water has a much higher viscosity and lower mobility than those of pure water or gas that constitutes the air-water foam. The possibility of using the air-water foam as a flow barrier for the purpose of groundwater and soil remediation is explored in this paper. A nanoparticle-stabilized air-water foam was fabricated by vigorously stirring the nano-fluid in pressurized condition. The foam bubble size distribution was analyzed with a microscope. The viscosities of foams generated with the solutions with several nanoparticle concentrations were measured as a function of time. The breakthrough pressure of foam-saturated microfluidic chips and sand columns were obtained. The hydraulic conductivity of a foam-filled sand column was measured after foam breakthrough. The results show that: (1) bubble coalescence and the Ostwald ripening are believed to be the reason of bubble size distribution change; (2) the viscosity of nanoparticle-stabilized foam and the breakthrough pressures decreased with time once the foam was generated; (3) the hydraulic conductivity of the foam-filled sand column was almost two orders of magnitude lower than that of a water-saturated sand column even after the foam-breakthrough. Based on the results in this study, the nanoparticle-stabilized air-water foam could be injected into contaminated soils to generate vertical barriers for temporary hydraulic conductivity reduction. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanoparticle; air-water foam; viscosity; breakthrough pressure; hydraulic conductivity nanoparticle; air-water foam; viscosity; breakthrough pressure; hydraulic conductivity

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zheng, X.; Jang, J. Hydraulic Properties of Porous Media Saturated with Nanoparticle-Stabilized Air-Water Foam. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1317.

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