Irreversible sorption of benzene in sandy aquifer materials

Doo Sung Baek, Song Bae Kim, Dong Ju Kim

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrocarbon compounds in aquifers are generally known to show a retardation effect due to sorption onto the surfaces of solid particles. In this study, we investigated the effect of sorption on the transport of benzene in sandy aquifer materials by conducting batch and column tests for both sandy aquifer materials and sandy materials to which had been added 0.5% powdered activated carbon. The batch test was conducted by equilibrating dry materials with benzene solutions of various initial concentrations, and by analysing the concentrations of benzene in the initial and equilibrated solutions using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The column test was performed to monitor the concentrations of effluent versus time, known as a breakthrough curve (BTC). We injected KCI and benzene solutions as tracers into the inlet boundary as two different types of square pulse and step, and monitored the effluent concentrations at the exit boundary under a steady-state condition using an electrical conductivity meter and HPLC. Simulation of benzene transport was performed using the convective-dispersive equation model with the distribution coefficients obtained from the batch test and the transport parameters of the conservative solute KCI from the column test. The observed BTCs of KCI and benzene for pulse injection showed that the arrival times of the peaks of both tracers coincided well, but the relative peak concentration of benzene was much lower than that of KCI. Comparison of the simulated and observed BTCs showed a great discrepancy for all cases of injection mode and material texture, indicating the absence of retardation effect. These results reveal that the predominant process affecting the benzene transport in the sandy aquifer materials is an irreversible sorption rather than retardation. This tentative conclusion was verified by simulation of benzene transport using an irreversible sorption parameter that led to a good agreement between the simulated and observed BTCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1251
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr 30


  • Benzene
  • Irreversible sorption
  • Retardation
  • Sandy materials
  • Transport model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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