Infiltration and Evaporation of Diesel and Gasoline Droplets Spilled onto Concrete Pavement

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Bernat Adria-Mora and Markus Hilpert, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States
Pollution at gas stations due to small spills that occur during refueling of customer vehicles has received little attention. We have performed laboratory experiments in order to assess the processes of evaporation and infiltration of fuel spilled onto concrete samples. Changes in mass of both spilled diesel and gasoline droplets as a function of time have been analyzed. The infiltrated mass is affected by variations in humidity, among other parameters, which influence the amount of water condensed onto the concrete. Therefore, we used a humidity data logger and statistical tools to predict the evolution of the real mass of infiltrated fuel. The infiltrated mass roughly decreases exponentially, but the difference in behavior between both fuel types is important. The percentage of evaporated mass is much larger for gasoline, while infiltration is more significant for diesel. Also, the percentage of infiltrated liquid depends on the initial droplet mass. We also developed a multiphysics model, which couples pore-scale infiltration to turbulent atmospheric transport, to explain the experimental data. In conclusion, a substantial amount of fuel could both seep into the ground to contaminate groundwater and be released to the atmosphere. More studies are needed to quantify the public health implications of the released pollutants.