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Measurement of colloidal phenomena during flow through refractive index matched porous media.

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Colloidal phenomena in porous media, natural or engineered, are important in a breadth of science and technology applications, but fundamental understanding is hampered by the difficulty in measuring colloid deposit morphology in situ. To partially address this need, this paper describes a static light scattering apparatus using a flow cell filled with refractive index matched (RIM) porous media, allowing real-time measurement of colloidal phenomena as a function of depth within the flow cell. A laser interacts with the colloids in the pore space and their structures, but not with the RIM media. The intensity of scattered light is measured as a function of scattering angle, which allows characterization of colloid deposit morphology as a fractal dimension and a radius of gyration. In parallel, fluid discharge rate and pressure drop are recorded to determine permeability, a key parameter for any application involving flow through porous media. This apparatus should prove useful in any application requiring characterization of colloidal phenomena within porous media. Additionally, this paper describes how to use granular Nafion as RIM porous media.

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