Numerical and experimental studies on cadmium (II) transport in kaolinite clay under electrical fields

Soon Oh Kim, Jae Jin Kim, Seong Taek Yun, Kyoung Woong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


A numerical model was formulated to simulate cadmium (Cd) transport under an electric field using one-dimensional diffusion-advection equations describing the contaminant transport driven by chemical and electrical gradients in kaolinite clay. The numerical model included complex physicochemical factors affecting the transport phenomena, such as soil pH value, zeta potential, aqueous phase reaction, adsorption, and precipitation. One-dimensional finite-difference computer models successfully predicted meaningful values for soil pH profiles and Cd concentration profiles. To verify the results of the proposed model by comparing them with experimental results, two different types of laboratory electrokinetic tests, unenhanced and enhanced tests, were conducted. The numerical and the experimental results showed good agreement. In addition, those results indicate that soil pH is the most important factor in governing the dissolution and/or desorption of Cd in the soil system under electrical fields. The removal efficiency of Cd in the unenhanced test was low (15.6%) due to a high accumulation in the region near the cathode. On the contrary, the cadmium concentration profile of the enhanced test showed a different pattern, and most of the residual concentrations appeared below the initial level at each local point within the soil cell after processing. The removal efficiency of the enhanced test was much higher (42.7%) than that of the unenhanced test, resulting from the prevention of hydroxide precipitation near the cathode using the acidic catholyte. Consequently, the result implies that the enhancement schemes such as conditioning of catholyte should be required to increase the effectiveness of the electrokinetic technology in removing metal contaminants from soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-162
Number of pages28
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov


  • Cadmium transport
  • Kaolinite clay
  • Numerical model
  • Removal efficiency
  • Unenhanced and enhanced electrokinetic tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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