Polymer gels are well known in the oil industry, but their potential for use as barriers to contaminant transport has not previously received significant study. As a first step, this paper examines the potential for a polyelectrolyte gel to serve as a barrier to the migration of sodium chloride. Two series of tests are reported. These involve the use of hydrogen pulsed field gradient – nuclear magnetic resonance (HPFG–NMR) to measure the self-diffusion on a microscopic scale and the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor Na¿ and H¿ migration in the polymer gel with time. It is shown that the gel, which has a hydraulic conductivity of 2 × 10¿¹² m/s, has a diffusion coefficient similar to that of compacted clay and greater sorption of Na¿ than is typical for compacted clay.
Darwish, M. I. M., Rowe, R. K., Maarel, van der, J. R. C., Pel, L., Huinink, H. P., & Zitha, P. L. J. (2004). Contaminant containment using polymer gel barriers. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 41(1), 106-117. https://doi.org/10.1139/t03-072