Feasibility study of using centrifuge for investigating LNAPL migration in unsaturated soils

Irene M.C. Lo, Liming Hu, Jay N. Meegoda

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11 Scopus citations


Centrifuge modeling appears potentially useful for studying geo-environmental problems such as pollutant migration in subsurface systems. In this study, the "modeling of models" technique was used to validate the feasibility of using a geotechnical centrifuge to model the transport behavior of light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) in unsaturated soils. All the experiments were conducted to simulate a gasoline spill from a leaking underground storage tank (UST) and the subsequent subsurface migration of the gasoline. When the gravity in the centrifuge reached the desired g-level, the gasoline was released from the UST and then it migrated in the unsaturated soil corresponding to a prototype time equivalent of one year. After the centrifuge tests, soil samples were collected using sampling tubes and the concentrations of individual constituent in the LNAPL were directly measured by means of gas chromatograph analysis. Results obtained from the centrifuge tests at different g-levels show that similar migration patterns are found for LNAPL transport in unsaturated porous media. The location of the peak concentration and the behavior of lateral spreading can be adequately described. In addition, centrifuge test data show that the migration pattern of LNAPLs is related to the soil type and the physical properties of individual constituents in the LNAPLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-103
Number of pages19
JournalSoil and Sediment Contamination
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Centrifuge modeling
  • Contaminant transport
  • Geo-environmental engineering
  • Leaking underground storage tanks
  • Light non-aqueous phase liquids
  • Modeling of models


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