Numéro de contrat

Project 101039854

Durée de projet

5 years


ERC Starting Grant


1.5 M€

Coordinateur : Sophie Roman
Partenaires : /


Many engineering applications foreseen the usage of small particles for groundwater remediation or for sealing damaged geological confinement barriers, however, delivering materials to a contaminated or damaged region is challenging. TRACE-it aims at controlling the flow of colloidal particles in subsurface geological environments using in situ solute concentration gradients. The phenomenon, known as diffusiophoresis, has a tremendous potential to move colloids to regions that are inaccessible by conventional transport. Diffusiophoretic transport in porous media, however, has received very little attention so far, especially in standard transport in porous media models where it remains unconsidered.

What is the magnitude and location of solute concentration gradients produced during subsurface processes? How to use these gradients to transport colloids towards target regions? The answers will be found through a combined experimental-modelling approach to: (i) measure coupled hydro-electro-chemical dynamics, (ii) characterize concentration gradients generated in situ in geological porous media, (iii) identify the influence of concentration gradients on particle transport and develop a macroscale model of transport in porous media that includes diffusiophoresis. TRACE-it integrates the usage of microfluidic experiments, observation techniques, and multi-scale computational fluid dynamics to describe the transport mechanisms at the pore-scale before upscaling to the continuum-scale.

The experimental-modelling toolset will open new ways for moving colloidal particles by sensing chemical gradients generated naturally or from human activity, leading them to their target such as oil, contaminants, or reacting minerals. During column-scale experiments, controlling colloid transport will be achieved through the characterization of solute concentration gradients and the use of specifically designed particles.