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Rheological behavior of xanthan gum solution related to shear thinning fluid delivery for subsurface remediation.

Journal of hazardous materials (2012-12-19)
L Zhong, M Oostrom, M J Truex, V R Vermeul, J E Szecsody
ABSTRACT

Xanthan gum solutions are shear thinning fluids which can be used as delivery media to improve the distribution of remedial amendments injected into heterogeneous subsurface environments. The rheological behavior of the shear thinning solution needs to be known to develop an appropriate design for field injection. In this study, the rheological properties of xanthan gum solutions were obtained under various chemical and environmental conditions relevant to delivery of remedial amendments to groundwater. Higher xanthan concentration raised the absolute solution viscosity and increased the degree of shear thinning. Addition of remedial amendments (e.g., phosphate, sodium lactate, ethyl lactate) caused the dynamic viscosity of xanthan solutions to decrease, but they maintained shear-thinning properties. Use of mono- and divalent salts (e.g., Na(+), Ca(2+)) to increase the solution ionic strength also decreased the dynamic viscosity of xanthan and the degree of shear thinning, although the effect reversed at high xanthan concentrations. A power law analysis showed that the consistency index is a linear function of the xanthan concentration. The degree of shear thinning, however, is best described using a logarithmic function. Mechanisms to describe the observed empiricism have been discussed. In the absence of sediments, xanthan solutions maintained their viscosity for months. However, the solutions lost their viscosity over a period of days to weeks when in contact with site sediment. Loss of viscosity is attributed to physical and biodegradation processes.

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