3D contaminant flow imaging in transparent granular porous media

R. Fernández Serrano, M. Iskander, K. Tabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A physical model based on transparent soil technology is presented as a novel laboratory tool for ground contamination research. The model aims to reproduce both unsaturated and saturated conditions within a Spanish soil formation known as Miga sand. A soil surrogate made of a waterabsorbing polymeric gel was employed. Multi-phase flow froma leaking underground storage tank was simulated in both saturated and unsaturated conditions in order to illustrate the usefulness of the technique in simulating a hypothetical spill of a light non-aqueous phase liquid under well-controlled test conditions. The plume observed was found to be spatially variable. The technique permits, for the first time, the simulation of specific grain size distributions in a transparent soil surrogate and visualization of plume development in three dimensions. Preliminary results indicate that the model is a potentially powerful tool for visualising pollutant transport in porous media. A brief description of the test setup, and a summary of the advantages, limitations, and prospective applications are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalGeotechnique Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Model tests
  • Pollution migration/control
  • Sands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of '3D contaminant flow imaging in transparent granular porous media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this