Over the last few years, my group has been active in three areas: (a) permeability, colloids, and fractals; (b) plumes, spreading, and chaos; and (c) environmental hydrology in Colorado. The common thread through most of this research is my primary expertise in flow through porous media: Aquifers, soils, and granular media filters.
A. Permeability, Colloids, and Fractals
Clogging, a detrimental reduction in permeability, is a concern for essentially any technology involving flow in porous media. Several lines of evidence suggest that colloidal phenomena, related to fines between 1 nm and 10 μm, play a crucial role in clogging. Accordingly, my research in this area comprises both basic science and engineering applications. The centerpiece of the basic science is a novel static light scattering (SLS) apparatus that allows real-time measurement of colloid deposit morphology as a fractal dimension. Engineering applications comprise petroleum formation damage, aquifer storage and recovery, geothermal energy, and clogging of pervious concrete pavements. For more details, please visit my page on permeability.
B. Plumes, Spreading, and Chaos
Groundwater remediation takes place largely at the interface between an injected plume of treatment solution and contaminated groundwater, but there is a fundamental physical limitation because flow in aquifers is laminar. In essence, the pot needs stirring, but the pot is full of porous media. To address this limitation, the fluid mechanics literature indicates that optimal spreading results from chaotic flows. For more details, including videos and a graphical user interface (GUI) where you can create your own chaotic flows, please visit my page on plume spreading.
C. Environmental Hydrology in Colorado
This area comprises several interlocking research projects, mostly suggested by inquisitive graduate students, that explore various aspects of Colorado hydrology with particular attention to environmental considerations: