On the viscosity of natural hyper-saline solutions and its importance: The Dead Sea brines Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary The relationship between the density, temperature and viscosity of hypersaline solutions, both natural and synthetic, is explored. An empirical equation of the density–viscosity relationship as a function of temperature was developed for the Dead Sea brine and its dilutions. The viscosity levels of the Dead Sea brine (density of 1.24 ⋅ 103 kg/m3; viscosity of 3.6 mPa s at 20 °C) and of the more extremely saline natural brine (density of 1.37 ⋅ 103 kg/m3) were found to be ∼3 and ∼10 times greater than that of fresh water, respectively. The combined effect of the above changes in viscosity and density on the hydraulic conductivity is reduction by a factor of 3–7. The chemical composition significantly affects the viscosity of brines with similar densities, whereby solutions with a higher Mg/Na ratio have higher viscosity. This explains the extremely high viscosity of the Dead Sea and related Mg-rich brines in comparison with the much lower values of NaCl and KCl brines with similar density. Possible impacts of the results include reduced settling velocity of grains in hypersaline viscous brines and changing hydraulic dynamics at the freshwater–saltwater and the vicinity of sinkholes.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016