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Mechanistic evaluation of mitigation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination by soil medium

Yong, Raymond N and Rao, Sudhakar M (1991) Mechanistic evaluation of mitigation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination by soil medium. In: Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 28 (1). pp. 84-91.

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Abstract

Present in situ chemical treatment technologies for mitigation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination are in the developmental stage or being tested. To devise efficient strategies for restricting the movement of petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) molecules in the contaminated soil, it is proposed to utilize the sorption–interaction relationships between the petroleum contaminants and the soil substrate. The basic questions addressed in this paper are as follows (i) What are the prominent chemical constituents of the various petroleum fractions that interact with the soil substrate? (ii) What are the functional groups of a soil that interact with the contaminants? (iii) What are the bonding mechanisms possible between the soil functional groups and the PHC contaminants? (iv) What are the consequent changes brought about the soil physical properties on interaction with PHC's? (v) What are the factors influencing the interactions between PHC molecules and clay particles of the soil substrate? (vi) What is the possibility of improving the soil's attenuation ability for PHC's? The development of answers to the basic questions reveal that petroleum hydrocarbons comprise a mixture of nonpolar alkanes and aromatic and polycyclic hydrocarbons, that have limited solubility in water. The bonding mechanism between the nonpolar PHC's and the clay surface is by way of van der Waals attraction. The adsorption of the nonpolar hydrocarbons by the clay surface occurs only when their (i.e., the hydrocarbon molecules) solubility in water is exceeded and the hydrocarbons exist in the micellar form. Dilute solutions of hydrocarbons in water, i.e., concentrations of hydrocarbons at or below the solubility limit, have no effect on the hydraulic conductivity of clay soils. Permeation with pure hydrocarbons invariably influences the clay hydraulic conductivity. To improve the attenuation ability of soils towards PHC's, it is proposed to coat the soil surface with "ultra" heavy organic polymers. Adsorption of organic polymers by the clay surface may change the surface properties of the soil from highly hydrophilic (having affinity for water molecules) to organophilic (having affinity for organic molecules). The organic polymers attached to the clay surface are expected to attenuate the PHC molecules by van der Waals attraction, by hydrogen bonding, and also by adsorption into interlayer space in the case of soils containing swelling clays.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to NRC Research Press.
Keywords: petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC's), bonding mechanisms, functional group;PHC-soil interaction;permeation;hydraulic conductivity;attenuation;van der Waals;organic polymers; organophilic.
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Civil Engineering
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2010 10:00
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2011 06:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/33980

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