Electrically induced displacement transport of immiscible oil in saline sediments

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Electrically assisted mitigation of coastal sediment oil pollution was simulated in floor-scale laboratory experiments using light crude oil and saline water at approximately 1/10 oil/water (O/W) mass ratio in pore fluid. The mass transport of the immiscible liquid phases was induced under constant direct current density of 2 A/m2, without water flooding. The transient pore water pressures (PWP) and the voltage differences (V) at and in between consecutive ports lined along the test specimen cell were measured over 90 days. The oil phase transport occurred towards the anode half of the test specimen where the O/W volume ratio increased by 50% over its initial value within that half-length of the specimen. In contrast, the O/W ratio decreased within the cathode side half of the specimen. During this time, the PWP decreased systematically at the anode side with oil bank accumulation. PWP increased at the cathode side of the specimen, signaling increased concentration of water there as it replaced oil in the pore space. Electrically induced transport of the non-polar, non-conductive oil was accomplished in the opposing direction of flow by displacement in absence of viscous coupling of oil-water phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016


  • Coastal contamination
  • Crude oil
  • Electro-kinetics
  • Electroosmotic pumps
  • Environmental mitigation
  • Mass transport


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