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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 2, p. 272-278
    Received: July 7, 1975
    Accepted: Nov 9, 1976

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Mass Transfer Studies in Sorbing Porous Media: II. Experimental Evaluation with Tritium (3H2O)1

  1. M. Th. van Genuchten2 and
  2. P. J. Wierenga3



A comparison is made between observed tritium effluent concentration distributions and those calculated with a previously published analytical solution for the movement of chemicals through unsaturated, aggregated sorbing media. In the analytical model the liquid phase of the soil is divided into mobile and immobile regions, with transfer between the two regions diffusion controlled. Effluent data obtained from several displacements of tritium through 30-cm long columns of Glendale clay loam were used to determine the different parameters in the analytical solution by curve fitting. The data indicate some adsorption or isotopic exchange of tritium during its flow through the soil columns. The amount of immobile water increases with decreasing flow velocity and increasing aggregate size, and varies between 6 and 45% of the total volume of water in the columns. The analytical solution provides an excellent description of the experimental effluent data, and shows that tailing can be explained satisfactorily by diffusional exchange of tritium between mobile and immobile regions of the soil.

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