An Experimental Setup for Electromagnetic Stimulation of Air Sparging

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The task of cleaning leakage from aging underground tanks along with surface spills of gasoline and other hazardous chemicals is of utmost importance to federal and state agencies. Minimally disruptive remediation techniques, such as air sparging, have become more attractive in the past decade compared with more traditional ex-situ remediation technologies. However, formation of air channels and slow airflow between them can make air sparging and similar methods less effective. The existing methods to stimulate airflow, such as pulsating air sparging systems, are time-consuming and not as effective.

Using radio frequency (RF) stimulation can expedite the remediation by affecting the formation, shape and size of air channels, and increasing air diffusion between these channels. To study the diffusion and RF stimulation, different cases will be studied within a clear acrylic box with: (i) water as the medium and an inert dye as the diffusive matter, and (ii) a water-saturated glass bead medium with air as the diffusive matter. A high power (75W) electromagnetic (EM) field is radiated through the saturated medium using two parallel copper plates (antennae), one connected to the amplifier, and the other grounded. The alternating electric field oscillates the dipole water molecules, which in turn, enhances the airflow. The first case studies the effect of the stimulation on diffusion. In the second case, in addition to the effect of the electric field on air diffusion, its effect on air channel formation is studied.