Evaporation of NaCl solution from porous media with mixed wettability
Evaporation of saline water from porous media is ubiquitous in many processes including soil salinization, crop production, and CO2 sequestration in deep saline acquirer. It is controlled by the transport properties of porous media, atmospheric conditions, and properties of the evaporating saline solution. In the present study, the effects of mixed wettability conditions on the general dynamics of water evaporation from porous media saturated with NaCl solution were investigated. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive series of evaporation experiments using sand mixtures containing different fractions of hydrophobic grains saturated with NaCl solutions. Our results showed that increasing fraction of hydrophobic grains in the mixed wettability sand pack had minor impact on the evaporative mass losses due to the presence of salt whose precipitation patterns were significantly influenced by the mixed wettability condition. Through macroscale and microscale investigations, we found formation of patchy efflorescence in the case of mixed wettability sand pack as opposed to crusty efflorescence in the case of completely hydrophilic porous media. Furthermore, the presence of salty water and hydrophobic grains in the sand pack significantly influenced the general dynamics and morphology of the receding drying front. Our results extend the understanding of the saline water evaporation from porous media with direct applications to various hydrological and engineering processes.