On electrokinetic soil radon mitigation: a first theoretical approach

  • Francisco J. Arias Department of Fluid Mechanics, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
Keywords: Environmental radon, Radon mitigation, Electrokinetic remediation


Electrokinetics and its potential significance with regard to soil radon (222Rn) mitigation is investigated. Whereas the use of electrical fields for chemical soil decontamination, also known as electrokinetic remediation (ER), is a consolidate commercial technology, however, its potential use to tackle the radon-soil problem has not yet been explored. One explanation behind is that traditional ER requires the use of electrolytic solutions injected into the soil to form chemical species in an ionic state and then being affected by the electrical potential. Radon is a chemically inert gas unable to form chemical species, and in any case, the continuous injection of electrolytic solutions underneath houses is clearly not an option. Here, it will demonstrated that the same radioactivity of the soil responsible for the generation of radon might also provide a key for its removal. Utilizing a simplified physical model, it was shown that owing to radioactive background surrounding the pores of the soil through which radon travels toward the surface, they become the preferential centers of ionization, and in fact, for very small pores (through which rocks and specially granite stones absorb and diffuse gases), they are positively polarized.


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