A simple reactive-transport model of calcite precipitation in soils and other porous media

Kirk, G.J.D.; Versteegen, A.; Ritz, K.; Milodowski, A.E.. 2015 A simple reactive-transport model of calcite precipitation in soils and other porous media. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 165. 108-122.

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Calcite formation in soils and other porous media generally occurs around a localised source of reactants, such as a plant root or soil macro-pore, and the rate depends on the transport of reactants to and from the precipitation zone as well as the kinetics of the precipitation reaction itself. However most studies are made in well mixed systems, in which such transport limitations are largely removed. We developed a mathematical model of calcite precipitation near a source of base in soil, allowing for transport limitations and precipitation kinetics. We tested the model against experimentally-determined rates of calcite precipitation and reactant concentration–distance profiles in columns of soil in contact with a layer of HCO3−-saturated exchange resin. The model parameter values were determined independently. The agreement between observed and predicted results was satisfactory given experimental limitations, indicating that the model correctly describes the important processes. A sensitivity analysis showed that all model parameters are important, indicating a simpler treatment would be inadequate. The sensitivity analysis showed that the amount of calcite precipitated and the spread of the precipitation zone were sensitive to parameters controlling rates of reactant transport (soil moisture content, salt content, pH, pH buffer power and CO2 pressure), as well as to the precipitation rate constant. We illustrate practical applications of the model with two examples: pH changes and CaCO3 precipitation in the soil around a plant root, and around a soil macro-pore containing a source of base such as urea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00167037
Date made live: 18 Jun 2015 14:18 +0 (UTC)

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