Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Physical model experiments were used to investigate the behavior of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in various geologic media.

The objectives of the laboratory investigations were to (a) compare DNAPL thickness in wells to thickness in adjacent sands, (b) observe and interpret dyed DNAPL migration in unsaturated and saturated sands, and (c) study DNAPLs' effects on clay layers.

Two cylindrical glass columns fitted with various well screens were filled with sand, clay layers, water, and dyed DNAPLs in four experiments. Columns were packed with fine or coarse sand and clay layers. Coarse hydrophobic sand was also used.

At equilibrium, DNAPL thickness in wells exceeds that in sands. The finer the sand, the greater the difference. The thickness difference equals the DNAPL-water capillary fringe height, which varies with grain size. DNAPL thickness in the hydrophobic sand exceeds that in wells due to DNAPL capillary rise. Wells serve as conduits for vertical DNAPL migration.