Unstirred boundary layers (UBLs) often act as a bottleneck for the diffusive transport of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in the environment. Therefore, a microscale technique was developed for quantifying mass transfer through a 100-μm thin UBL, with the medium composition of the UBL as the controllable factor. The model compound fluoranthene had to (1) partition from a contaminated silicone disk (source) into the medium, (2) then diffuse through 100 μm of medium (UBL), and finally (3) partition into a clean silicone layer (sink). The diffusive mass transfer from source to sink was monitored over time by measuring the fluoranthene content of the source and sink disks. The diffusive flux of fluoranthene was slightly higher for air than for water. Cyclodextrin, humic acids, and micelles of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) enhanced the diffusive flux of fluoranthene in water by more than 1 order of magnitude. These results demonstrate that medium constituents, which normally are believed to bind hydrophobic organic chemicals, actually can enhance the diffusive mass transfer of HOCs in the vicinity of a diffusion source (e.g., contaminated soil particles). The technique can be used to evaluate the effect of natural fluids on diffusive mass transfer, as it integrates the different processes, partitioning and diffusion, in one laboratory model.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer