Colloid transport experiments focusing on the initial deposition stage in water-unsaturated sand columns were conducted. To examine the effect of electrostatic interaction in the unsaturated condition, negatively and positively charged silica colloids were used for column transport experiments under different salt concentrations. The results of the column experiments were analyzed based on the colloid filtration theory and the deposition rate constants, and the single collector efficiency was calculated. The deposition rate constants of both negatively and positively charged silica in a water-unsaturated condition are larger than those in a water-saturated condition at an equivalent salt concentration, because the interface between air and water acts as an additional deposition site. The negatively charged silica shows the salt concentration, above which electric double layer (EDL) repulsion can be neglected, and the salt concentration is called critical deposition concentration (CDC). The CDCs were almost the same values in water-saturated as well as unsaturated conditions. The deposition rate constants of the positively charged silica were slightly increased at 0.05 mM due to the EDL attractive forces in the saturated condition. However, we could not see the significant effects of the EDL attractive force in the unsaturated condition in this study. Also, the present results demonstrated that a correlation equation for calculating collector efficiency can be applied to the non-spherical collector particles.
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