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Mathematical Modeling of Open Limestone

  • Mathematical Modeling of Open Limestone Channel

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) is the outflow of acidic water from metal mines or coal mines. When exposed to air and water, metal sulfides from the deposits of the mines are oxidized and produce acid, metal ions and sulfate, which lower the pH value of the water. The water is then unfit for consumption, agricultural or industrial use. AMD has become one of the largest problems for the mining industry. An open limestone channel (OLC) is a passive and low cost way to treat AMD. Coarse limestone boulders are placed into downstream water. The dissolution of calcium into the water will increase the pH value of the solution. 

    In this project, we set up a mathematical model that describes the variation of concentration of each species in the solution. Data are collected from engineering students who were doing the research last summer. By using the chemical reaction and the mechanism of an open limestone channel, we set up a differential equation which calculates the concentration of Calcium. The diffusion of Calcium due to iron precipitates is modeled by a linear equation. The results give the variation of pH value and the concentration of Calcium.

    Applied Math Figure 5

    Figure 5: Making measurements at open limestone channel