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Particle-Based Contaminant Transport Modeling
Persistent toxic chemicals are a significant concern in the Great Lakes and other water bodies. Many of these substances, including hydrophobic organics and heavy metals, are transported primarily with sediments due to strong sorption properties. Of primary concern are smaller sediments, due to relatively high surface area (per unit mass) and higher organic carbon content. Models for fate and transport of these contaminants typically solve the governing equations controlling concentrations of the suspended sediment and dissolved phase contaminant, coupled with either equilibrium or dynamic partitioning of the chemical between the dissolved and particulate phases. This approach is usually limited to one or two particle “types,” in terms of size, density, settling rate, partitioning coefficient, and other properties, although in reality sediments in natural systems are better described with distributions of these properties. Recent results obtained by UB researchers have demonstrated the degree of error associated with a single-particle calculation, using an innovative particle-based procedure that allows multiple particle types to be tracked through the system under study. This approach also is expected to facilitate incorporation of other features of sediment and associated contaminant transport, including particle interactions.
FACULTY & STAFF
- UB internal funding