EESS talk on "Flow and Transport in the Natural Environment and Agroecosystems: Advances and Applications in Soil, Water, Energy and Food Systems"


Event details

Date and time 27.10.2020 12:1513:00  
Place and room
Speaker Dr Christophe Darnault, Associate professor, Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth SciencesCollege of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Clemson University (USA)
Category Conferences - Seminars
Understanding flow and transport processes in the natural environment and agroecosystems is critical for the sustainable exploitation and management of natural resources —soil, water, forests, and fossil fuels, the development of effective remediation procedures, and the protection of the human and ecosystem health. Our research on the soil and water conservation in agricultural and forestry systems investigates the impacts of water reuse and prescribed fires practices on the surface and subsurface processes —hydrology and soil erosion, and water quality within this landscape. We studied the spatial distribution and morphometry of closed depressions change over time in a wastewater spray irrigated karst landscape with bedrock fractures, and modeled the groundwater flow and nitrate transport in the karst aquifer resulting from the recycling and reuse of wastewater by irrigation of agriculture and forestry lands for enhanced groundwater recharge of a karst aquifer. Our research on post-fire effects on hydrological and geochemical processes in soil from forest of the Southeastern United States established the soil physico-chemical and hydraulic properties of unburned and burned soils and how these properties relate to infiltration and water repellency phenomena as well as sorption behaviors of polar and nonpolar compounds. The release of emerging contaminants, such as engineered nanomaterials, into the environment; the prevalence of microbial pathogens (Cryptosporidium parvum and Toxoplasma gondii) in the soil and water systems; and the discharge of radionuclides (uranium) during storage, handling, and disposal of nuclear materials in groundwater are inevitable. To study the fate and transport of these contaminants in the subsurface, we have investigated their mobility under different hydrodynamic and biogeochemical conditions found in the environment. We have demonstrated the critical role that preferential flow; transient water content, velocity, and chemistry, gas-water and solid interfaces; system heterogeneities; plants and microbes; and their interactions and feedback have in the flow and contaminants behavior. Mobilization of crude oil is essential for the exploitation of petroleum reservoirs. We have explored the ability of nanoparticles (silica nanoparticles) to improve the efficiency of the chemical-enhanced oil recovery process that uses surfactant flooding by examining interfacial and rheological properties of multiphase systems and sandstone-crude oil-nanofluid systems. Our research results will contribute to the development and validation of flow, fate, and transport models of contaminants from pore scale to watershed scale for management and protection of soil and water resources, petroleum reservoirs, public health, ecosystem sustainability, risk assessment, and life-cycle analysis.

Short biography:
Christophe Darnault is Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University. He is the Chair of the South Carolina Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He serves as Associate Editor for Frontiers in Environmental Science – Soil Processes, Frontiers in Earth Science, section Soil Processes, and served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Hydrology (Elsevier). He has research and teaching experience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also a visiting scholar at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from Cornell University, and his combined M.S. & B.S. degree (Diplôme d’Ingénieur) in Agricultural, Environmental, and Biological Engineering from the Institut Supérieur d'Agriculture, Lille, France (1995). Dr. Darnault’s teaching and research interests are in the fields of environmental health and engineering/bioengineering, agricultural and biological engineering, hydrological sciences, hydraulic engineering, and soil and water resources engineering and management.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE



(Multiphase) Flow phenomena Transport processes Emerging contaminants Pathogens Subsurface Environment Visualization and Imaging