Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Denis O'Carroll

Second Advisor

Jason Gerhard


DNAPLs in the subsurface may contain surface-active compounds that impact DNAPL migration and distribution. A number of studies to-date have focused on the role surface active compounds play in altering the wettability of quartz sands without examining the implications for other minerals commonly present in the subsurface. This study aims to extend the understanding of DNAPL/surfactant wettability to iron oxide surfaces. Specifically the objective was to compare the changes in the wettability of quartz and iron oxide sands in a tetrachloroethylene/water system containing a representative organic base. Wettability was assessed through: contact angles; Pc-S curves; and a two- dimensional flow cell experiment. It was discovered that quartz and iron oxide surfaces may exhibit different wetting characteristics under similar subsurface conditions. At neutral pH the quartz was strongly NAPL-wetting while the iron oxide remained hydrophilic. This study concludes that the isoelectric point, the pH at which there is a net zero surface charge, plays a major role in governing cationic surfactant sorption.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.