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Innovative materials for permeable reactive barriers

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Permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) are geoenvironmental remediation technology to treat contaminated groundwater as it flows though the ground. Such installation can be needed to treat land prior to redevelopment. Natural zeolites, organoclay and inorgano-bentonites are innovative materials for PRBs to reduce the groundwater toxicity. They are specific for certain compounds. Their modifications allow to target a wide range of toxic molecules. The granular reactive materials are suitable for PRBs. Laboratory experiments on adsorption isotherms, reaction kinetics and mass balance can guide the design of soil mix technology PRBs. The ICP -OES measured metal and gas chromatography measured hydrocarbons. The inorgano-organo-bentonite was decomposed into a pillared and an organoclays, and characterised with SEM , XRD, FTIR , TGA and adsorption tests. The organic surfactant increased the distance between the clay layers, which both increased the treatment ability and the permeability. Polypropylene glycol and lecithin are environmentally friendly compounds that can intercalate the bentonite and change the zeolite surface. To extrapolate the results to long-term PRB installations, the adsorption capacity of the reactive material suggests that they can treat effectively groundwater from former industrial sites, abandoned non-coal mines, and petroleum compound leakages.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Geotechnical Research Seminars series.

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