Transport of reactive colloids in groundwater may enhance the transport of contaminants in groundwater. Often, the interpretation of results of transport experiments is not a simple task as both reactions of colloids with the solid matrix and reactions of contaminants with the solid matrix and mobile and immobile colloids may be time dependent and nonlinear. Further colloid transport properties may differ from solute transport properties. In this paper, a one-dimensional model for coupled colloid and contaminant transport in a porous medium (COLTRAP) is presented together with simulation results. Calculated breakthrough curves (BTC's) during contamination and decontamination show systematically the effect of nonlinear and kinetic interactions on contaminant transport in the presence of reactive colloids, and the effect of colloid transport properties that differ from solute transport properties. It is shown that in case of linear kinetic reactions, the rate of exchange of mobile and immobile colloids have a large impact on the shape of BTC's even if the solid matrix is saturated with respect to colloids. BTC's during the contamination and decontamination phase have identical shapes in this case. Moreover, the slow reactions of contaminants and colloids may lead to unretarded breakthrough of contaminants. Independent of reaction rates, nonlinear reactions lead to BTC's that are steeper during contamination than in the linear case. A characteristic aspect of nonlinear sorption is that shapes of BTC's differ during the contamination and decontamination phase. It has been observed that shapes of some of the simulated adsorption and desorption curves are similar as shapes found in experiments reported in literature. This stresses the importance of incorporating both kinetics and nonlinearity in models for coupled colloid and contaminant transport and the capability of COLTRAP to interpret experimental results. Finally, to figure out whether nonlinear processes play a role, it is very important to consider both contamination and decontamination in transport experiments.
van de Weerd, H., Leijnse, A., & van Riemsdijk, W. H. (1998). Transport of reactive colloids and contaminants in groundwater: effect of nonlinear kinetic interactions. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 32, 313-331. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-7722(98)00052-7