Laboratory-scale column experiments were carried out to assess the influence of water infiltration on pooled light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) redistribution in porous media. A simplified image analysis method (SIAM) was used to evaluate the saturation distributions of the LNAPL and water in the entire domain under dynamic conditions. The experiments were conducted for high/low LNAPL volumes LNAPL volumes differentiated as low and high volumes. High resolution SIAM images of the soil column during LNAPL migration and water infiltration events were captured and analyzed. Results indicated that the capillary fringe is about 6-7 cm which was consistent with the capillary height derived from empirical equations. Moreover, SIAM provided an estimate of the field capacity (30%) of the sand. Once the LNAPL infiltration stage was started, the LNAPL was observed to rapidly migrate through the vadose zone. For the case of large LNAPL volume, the LNAPL penetrated further into capillary fringe zone. Analysis of SIAM images showed that the LNAPL redistribution was observed to vary significantly with the rate of infiltration. For higher water infiltration intensity, the injected water exerted a larger hydrodynamic force on the entrapped LNAPL forcing it move further downward into the capillary zone and the saturated zone. Overall, this study demonstrated that the SIAM technique is an accurate and cost-effective tool for the visualization of the time-dependent NAPL/water movement in laboratory-scale experiments and dynamic changes in fluid saturation in porous media.
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