Experimental analysis of soil and dust stabilizers for controlling displacement of contaminated soils by wind tunnel experiments

Leonel E Lagos, Florida International University


During the remediation of burial grounds at the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford Site in Washington State, the dispersion of contaminated soil particles and dust is an issue that is faced by site workers on a daily basis. This contamination problem is even more of a concern when one takes into account the semi-arid characteristics of the region where the site is located. To mitigate this problem, workers at the site use a variety of engineered methods to minimize the dispersion of contaminated soil and dust (i.e. use of water and/or suppression agents that stabilizes the soil prior to soil excavation, segregation, and removal activities). A primary contributor to the dispersion of contaminated soil and dust is wind soil erosion. The erosion process occurs when the wind speed exceeds a certain threshold value which depends on a number of factors including wind force loading, particle size, surface soil moisture, and the geometry of the soil. Thus under these circumstances, the mobility of contaminated soil and generation and dispersion of particulate matter are significantly influenced by these parameters. This dependence of soil and dust movement on threshold shear velocity, fixative dilution and/or application rates, soil moisture content, and soil geometry were studied for Hanford's sandy soil through a series of wind tunnel experiments, laboratory experiments and theoretical analysis. In addition, the behavior of plutonium (Pu) powder contamination in the soil was studied by introducing a Pu simulant (cerium oxide). The results showed that soil dispersion and PM10 concentrations decreased with increasing soil moisture. Also, it was shown that the mobility of the soil was affected by increasing wind velocity. It was demonstrated that the use of fixative products greatly decreased the amount of soil and PM10 concentrations when exposed to varying wind conditions. In addition, it was shown that geometry of the soil sample affected the velocity profile and calculation of roughness surface coefficient when comparing round and flat soil samples. Finally, threshold shear velocities were calculated for soil with flat surface and their dependency on surface soil moisture was demonstrated. A theoretical framework was developed to explain these dependencies.

Subject Area

Soil sciences|Civil engineering|Environmental science|Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Lagos, Leonel E, "Experimental analysis of soil and dust stabilizers for controlling displacement of contaminated soils by wind tunnel experiments" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3268651.