Incorporating both physical and kinetic limitations in quantifying dissolved oxygen flux to aquatic sediments

Ben L. O'connor, Miki Hondzo, Judson W. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Traditionally, dissolved oxygen (DO) fluxes have been calculated using the thin-film theory with DO microstructure data in systems characterized by fine sediments and low velocities. However, recent experimental evidence of fluctuating DO concentrations near the sediment-water interface suggests that turbulence and coherent motions control the mass transfer, and the surface renewal theory gives a more mechanistic model for quantifying fluxes. Both models involve quantifying the mass transfer coefficient (k) and the relevant concentration difference (ΔC). This study compared several empirical models for quantifying k based on both thin-film and surface renewal theories, as well as presents a new method for quantifying ΔC (dynamic approach) that is consistent with the observed DO concentration fluctuations near the interface. Data were used from a series of flume experiments that includes both physical and kinetic uptake limitations of the flux. Results indicated that methods for quantifying k and ΔC using the surface renewal theory better estimated the DO flux across a range of fluid-flow conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1304-1314
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 27 2009


  • Boundary layer flow
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Kinetics
  • Mass transport
  • Oxygen demand
  • Sediment
  • Surface waters


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