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Porous media physical properties. 

Porous media physical properties. 

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Article
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Mercury is a contaminant of global concern due to its harmful effects on human health and for the detrimental consequences of its release in the environment. Sources of liquid elemental mercury are usually anthropogenic, such as chlor-alkali plants. To date insight into the infiltration behaviour of liquid elemental mercury in the subsurface is lac...

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Context 1
... types of glass beads, coarse (d 50 = 1 mm), medium (d 50 = 0.375 mm), and fine (d 50 = 0.175 mm), (Glaswarenfabrik Karl Hecht; Retsch), and two different medium sands, Filtersand 0.2-0.5 mm and Silversand S60 (FILCOM-Sibelco Group), were used as porous media (Table 1). The two medium sands will be referred to as medium sand 1 (MS1) and medium sand 2 (MS2). ...
Context 2
... two medium sands will be referred to as medium sand 1 (MS1) and medium sand 2 (MS2). The particle size distribution of MS1 (d 50 = 0.39 mm) is wider ( Fig. 1; Table 1) than MS2 (d 50 = 0.26 mm), and the particle sizes mainly fall in the range of 0.200-0.500 mm and 0.125-0.355 ...
Context 3
... based on the particle size range (Table 1) alone MS1 would be expected to have a higher intrinsic permeability than MS2, it also has a wider particle size distribution (Fig. 1), which negatively affects its intrinsic permeability. As a consequence, the resulting in- trinsic permeability of MS1 and MS2 is similar. ...

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Article
Full-text available
Industrial use has led to the presence of liquid elemental mercury (Hg0) worldwide in the subsurface as Dense NonAqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL), resulting in long lasting sources of contamination, which cause harmful effects on human health and detrimental consequences on ecosystems. However, to date, insight into the infiltration behaviour of elemental mercury DNAPL is lacking. In this study, a two-stage flow container experiment of elemental mercury DNAPL infiltration into a variably water saturated stratified sand is described. During the first stage of the experiment, 16.3 ml of liquid Hg0 infiltrated and distributed into an initially partially water saturated system. Afterwards, during the second stage of the experiment, consisting of the simulation of a “rain event” to assess whether the elemental mercury already infiltrated could be mobilized due to local increases in water saturation, a significant additional infiltration of 4.7 ml of liquid mercury occurred from the remaining DNAPL source. The experiment showed that, under conditions similar to those found in the field, Hg0 DNAPL infiltration is likely to occur via fingers and is strongly controlled by porous medium structure and water saturation. Heterogeneities within the porous medium likely determined preferential pathways for liquid Hg0 infiltration and distribution, as also suggested by dual gamma ray measurements. Overall, this study highlights that the infiltration behaviour of mercury DNAPL is strongly impacted by water saturation. In the field, this may result in a preferential infiltration of Hg0 DNAPL in wetter areas or in its mobilization due to wetting during a rain event, as indicated by this study, or a groundwater table rise. This should be considered when assessing the likely distribution pathways of historic mercury DNAPL contamination as well as the remediation efforts.