First Advisor

Gwynn R. Johnson

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type



Civil and Environmental Engineering




Trichloroethylene, Mass transfer, Groundwater -- Pollution




Trichloroethene (TCE) is a volatile and toxic contaminant commonly found in the subsurface. To help reduce the effects of this contaminant, it is important to understand the transport and fate behavior of TCE through the subsurface. As groundwater fills the void spaces of a porous media contaminated with pure-phase TCE, the TCE will dissolve into the water, contaminating the groundwater. It was expected that this dissolution would follow a first-order mass transfer process, suggesting that the rate of dissolution of TCE is dependent on the mass of TCE present in solution. The purpose of this study was to characterize the impact of the initial volume of pure-phase TCE in a porous media on TCE’s rate of dissolution, and whether a simple batch experiment can be used to estimate the rate-limited mass transfer coefficient, k2. Batch experiments were conducted with different residual TCE concentrations in a natural porous media. Measured k2 values ranged from 0.001–0.002 min-1, even though the residual TCE concentration of one batch was five times that of the other. This suggests that the residual TCE concentration in the porous media does not affect the mass transfer rates measured in these batch experiments.


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A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Departmental Honors in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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