RESEARCH

Past and current projects

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IMPACT OF HETEROGENEITY ON SOLUTE TRANSPORT AND MIXING IN UNSATURATED POROUS MEDIA

Porous media heterogeneity - variation in pore sizes and their structure - can impact unsaturated flow patterns and influence transport and mixing of solutes.

Under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions project UnsatPorMix, this research project aims to test experimentally and numerically the impact of various pore size distributions and their spatial correlation on unsaturated flow patterns and the effect on solute transport and mixing.

Follow more closely and learn more in the dedicated section!

Collaborators:

Dr. Yves Méheust and Dr. Tanguy Le Borgne, Géoscience Rennes, Université de Rennes 1

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COLLOID TRANSPORT IN FRACTURES

Transport of colloids in fractured rock is an important process related to the migration of pollutants in groundwater systems. However, the role of the fracture surface heterogeneity on colloid transport is still not fully resolved.

We conduct a series of experiments in a flow cell containing naturally fractured rock samples while utilizing direct visualization of fluorescent colloids to assess their transport behavior.

Our experiments show the impact of flow channeling on colloid transport in fractured rock, and the relation between direct observations to measured breakthrough curves.

Collaborators:

Prof. Noam Weisbrod and Prof. Avraham Be'er, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Publications:

Borgman, Be'er and Weisbrod, Impact of surface heterogeneity on colloid transport over a natural fractured rock surface (In preparation)

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DRYING IN DEFORMABLE GRANULAR MEDIA

Drying in deformable granular media is a crucial component in many natural and industrial processes.

In this project, we couple a pore-network model of drying porous media with a micro-mechanical model for grain displacement to capture the two-way coupling between drying and solid matrix deformations.

We find that drying may lead to the opening of preferential fluid displacement pathways and that this phenomenon is more favorable with homogeneous and loosely packed granular beds.

Collaborators:

Dr. Ran Holtzman, The Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Fluid and Complex Systems Research Centre, Coventry University

Publications:

Borgman and Holtzman (2020), Impact of matrix deformations on drying of granular materials

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IMPACT OF HETEROGENEITY ON IMMISCIBLE DISPLACEMENT IN POROUS MEDIA

Drying and drainage are two types of immiscible displacement processes which occur in porous media and are relevant for environmental and industrial processes. In this project, we investigate the impact of porous medium heterogeneity and the spatial correlation in pore sizes on these processes. We do this by a combination of pore-network models and microfluidic experiments.

With these, we show how spatial correlations in pore sizes control displacement patterns and drying rates and emphasize the need to include the porous medium structure in modeling frameworks, and not only the pore size distributions.

Collaborators:

Dr. Ran Holtzman, The Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Fluid and Complex Systems Research Centre, Coventry University

Dr. Lucas Goehring, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, and Nottingham Trent University

Dr. Paolo FantinelMax Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Wieland LühderMax Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Dr. Soumyajyoti BiswasMax Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Dr. Enrico SegreWeizmann Institute of Science

Thomas DarwentNottingham Trent University

Publications:

Borgman et al. (2019), Immiscible fluid displacement in porous media with spatially correlated particle sizes

Biswas, Fantinel, Borgman et al. (2018), Drying and percolation in correlated porous media 

Borgman et al. (2017), Impact of spatially correlated pore-scale heterogeneity on drying porous media

Fantinel, Borgman et al. (2017), Drying in a microfluidic chip: Experiments and simulations

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TRANSPORT OF PHARMACEUTICAL COMPOUNDS IN AGRICULTURAL SOIL

Irrigation with treated wastewater is a possible source for pharmaceutical compounds in agricultural soils, while the application of biosolids originating from wastewater treatment plants can be both a source and an adsorbent for such contaminants.

In this project, we tried to learn about the interplay between these components in soil column experiments with varying solution chemistry.

Our results show how transport of pharmaceutical compounds can be inhibited by the addition of biosolids, and in some cases enhanced by variations in soil solution pH.

Collaborator:

Prof. Benny Chefetz, The Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Publications:

Borgman and Chefetz (2013), Combined effects of biosolids application and irrigation with reclaimed wastewater on transport of pharmaceutical compounds in arable soils