Hydraulic properties of porous media saturated with nanoparticle-stabilized air-water foam

Xianglei Zheng, Jaewon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The foam generated by the mixture of air and water has a much higher viscosity and lower mobility than those of pure water or gas that constitutes the air-water foam. The possibility of using the air-water foam as a flow barrier for the purpose of groundwater and soil remediation is explored in this paper. A nanoparticle-stabilized air-water foam was fabricated by vigorously stirring the nano-fluid in pressurized condition. The foam bubble size distribution was analyzed with a microscope. The viscosities of foams generated with the solutions with several nanoparticle concentrations were measured as a function of time. The breakthrough pressure of foam-saturated microfluidic chips and sand columns were obtained. The hydraulic conductivity of a foam-filled sand column was measured after foam breakthrough. The results show that: (1) bubble coalescence and the Ostwald ripening are believed to be the reason of bubble size distribution change; (2) the viscosity of nanoparticle-stabilized foam and the breakthrough pressures decreased with time once the foam was generated; (3) the hydraulic conductivity of the foam-filled sand column was almost two orders of magnitude lower than that of a water-saturated sand column even after the foam-breakthrough. Based on the results in this study, the nanoparticle-stabilized air-water foam could be injected into contaminated soils to generate vertical barriers for temporary hydraulic conductivity reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1317
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2016


  • Air-water foam
  • Breakthrough pressure
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Nanoparticle
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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