Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Glen P. Perram, PhD


This research investigated the influence of soil characteristics on the desorption of trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is one of the most common contaminants at Superfund sites. Unfortunately, extraction of TCE from contaminated soils has been hindered by its slow and poorly understood desorption from soil particles. The rate and progress of desorption of TCE from seven types of soil with varying particle diameters and elemental compositions was measured using optical absorption techniques. Fitting the data to the Langmuir Isotherm functional form predicted in the literature yielded parameters for the desorption rate and total amount desorption each soil type. These parameters were compared to the characteristics of the soil samples to determine if any correlation existed. Soil characteristics appeared to have a significant influence on the desorption of TCE. Both the rate of desorption and the total amount of desorption showed a strong negative correlation with the particle diameter of the soils. Additionally, the elemental composition of the soil appeared to have a significant effect on the desorption phenomena.

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