The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Permeable Reactive Barriers - The Physics


The Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB) relies on a passive technique, meaning it requires no external energy to force the contaminated liquid through the barrier. To allow the water to flow through the reactive material, the reactive barrier material must have a higher hydraulic conductivity than the surrounding contaminated soil. (Di Natale et al., 2008) The PRB is then placed perpendicular to the direction of the water flow allowing the contaminated water to travel through the reactive material for the best removal results. Within the barrier the contaminants are either absorbed, chemically or biologically degraded. (Yeh, Lin, & Wu, 2010) Once the chemical process is complete, the remediated water continues downstream via natural flow.


Figure 2 plan view a  Figure 2 plan view b

a) Continuous wall plan view                                         b) Funnel and gate plan view

Figure 2: The plan view of a contaminant plume intersecting a PRB (Gavaskar, 1999)


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