Full-Field Dye Concentration Measurement Within Saturated/Unsaturated Thin Slabs of Porous Media

by Dennis L. Norton, Univ of Arizona, Tucson, United States,
Robert J. Glass, Univ of Arizona, Tucson, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


This paper presents a full-field dye concentration measurement technique that extends our experimental capabilities to the measurement of transient dye concentration fields within steady state flow fields under unsaturated on saturated conditions. Simple light absorption theory provides a basis for translating images into high resolution dye concentration fields. A series of dye pulse experiments that demonstrate the combined use of the full-field saturation and dye concentration techniques was conducted at four different degrees of saturation. Each of these experimental sequences was evaluated with respect to mass balance, the results being within 5% of the known dye mass input. An image windowing technique allowed us to see increased dispersion due to decreasing moisture content, tailing of concentration at the year of the dye pulse and slight velocity changes of the dispersive front due to changes in moisture content. The exceptional resolution of dye concentration in space and time provided by this laboratory technique allows systematic experimentation for examining basic processes affecting solute transport within saturated/unsaturated porous media. Future challenges for this work will be to use these techniques to analyze more complex systems involving heterogeneities, scaling laws, and detailed investigations of the relationship between transverse and longitudinal dispersion in unsaturated media.

Subject Headings: Dyes | Flow measurement | Slabs | Porous media flow | Water content | Rock mechanics | Porous media

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