Investigating Non-Newtonian Fluids for Effective Remediation of Persistent Contaminants

  • Project PI: Debasmita Misra
  • Project Student:
  • Keywords: Non-Newtonian fluid, soil remediation, flow characteristics, non-isothermal flow regime, adsorbent contaminant

With industrial processes of oil, gas, and mining contributing to soil and water contamination in Alaska, there is a need to develop cost- and time-effective remediation methods for cleaning soils and aquifers.

This study is investigating the effectiveness of using Guar gum, and testing it under varying temperatures to better understand its ability as a flushing agent to remove contaminants from soils in cold regions. Guar gum is a natural, biodegradable material that could fill the need for an economical and environmentally friendly remediation method.


Laboratory Investigation of Rheology and Infiltration Process of Non-Newtonian Fluids through Porous Media in a Non-Isothermal Flow Regime for Effective Remediation of Persistent Contaminants

The objective of this research is to study a methodology of using non-Newtonian fluids for effective remediation of adsorbent contaminants in porous media under non-isothermal flow regimes. The research comprises of three components. Since, non-Newtonian fluid rheology has not been well studied in cold temperatures, the first component of the objective is to exose a non-Newtonian fluid (Guar gum solution) to different temperatures ranging from 30 degrees Celsius through -5 degree Celsius to understand the change in viscosity, shear strength and contact angle of Guar gum. Study of flow characteristic of non-Newtonian fluids in complex porous media have been limited. Hence, the second component of this study will focus on a comparison of flow characteristics of Newtonian fluid, non-Newtonian fluid and a combination of both fluids in a glass-tube-bundle setup that will act as a synthetic porous media. The study of flow characteristics will also be done for different thermal regimes ranging from -5 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. The third component of the research will be to compare the effectiveness of a type of fluid to remediate a surrogate adsorbent contaminant at a certain temperature from the synthetic porous media. Guar gum is biodegradable and hence it is benign to the environment. Through these experiments, the mobility and behavior of non-Newtonian (Guar gum) fluids under varying temperature ranges will be characterized and its effectiveness in removing contaminants from soils will be understood. The impact of temperature change on the fluid and flow stability in the porous medium will be examined in this research. The Guar gum is good suspension fluid and hence, studying the suspension capability below the freezing point would be of great importance. The outcome of this research will provide critical knowledge of cost effective, environmentally benign and time efficient remediation of contaminated soils in Alaska and other cold regions.

  • Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC)
  • Engineering Learning & Innovation Facility (ELIF)
  • 1764 Tanana Loop
  • PO Box 75 5910
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5910, USA