A microfluidic approach to water-rock interactions using thin rock sections: Pb and U sorption onto thin shale and granite sections

Youn Soo Oh, Ho Young Jo, Ji Hun Ryu, Geon Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The feasibility of using microfluidic tests to investigate water-rock (mineral) interactions in fractures regarding sorption onto thin rock sections (i.e., shale and granite) of lead (Pb) and uranium (U) was evaluated using a synthetic PbCl2 solution and uranium-containing natural groundwater as fluids. Effluent composition and element distribution on the thin rock sections before and after microfluidic testing were analyzed. Most Pb removal (9.8 mg/cm2) occurred within 3.5 h (140 PVF), which was 74% of the total Pb removal (13.2 mg/cm2) at the end of testing (14.5 h, 560 PVF). Element composition on the thin shale sections determined by μ-XRF analysis indicated that Pb removal was related primarily to Fe-containing minerals (e.g., pyrite). Two thin granite sections (biotite rich, Bt-R and biotite poor, Bt-P) exhibited no marked difference in uranium removal capacity, but a slightly higher amount of uranium was removed onto the thin Bt-R section (266 μg/cm2) than the thin Bt-P section (240 μg/cm2) within 120 h (4800 PVF). However, uranium could not be detected by micro X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) analysis, likely due to the detection limit. These results suggest that microfluidic testing on thin rock sections enables quantitative evaluation of rock (mineral)-water interactions at the micro-fracture or pore scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korean Nuclear Energy R&D program of the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, Korea ( NRF-2012M2A8A5025579 ). We greatly appreciate Dr. Yongjae Lee at Yonsei University for his help with the μ-XRF analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Lead
  • Microfluidics
  • Sorption
  • Uranium
  • Water-rock interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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