Colloidal interfacial interactions in a capillary channel under different chemical and flow conditions were studied using confocal microscopy. Fluorescent latex microspheres (1.1 mu m) were employed as model colloids and the effects of ionic strength and flow conditions on colloidal retention at air-water interface (AWI) and contact line were examined in static and dynamic (flow) experiments. Colloids were preferentially attached to and accumulated at AWI, but their transport with bulk solution was non-negligible. Changing solution ionic strength in the range 1-100 mM had a marginal effect on colloidal accumulation, indicating forces other I tan electrostatic are involved. Flow through the open channel resembled Poiseuille flow with AWI acting as a non-stress-free boundary, which resulted in near stagnation of AWI and consequently promoted colloid accumulation. Retention on contact line was likely dominated by film-straining and was more significant in flow relative to static experiments due to hydrodynamic driving force. Modeling and dimensionless analysis of the flow behavior in the capillary channel clearly indicate the important role of apparent surface viscosity and surface tension in colloidal interfacial retention at the pore scale, providing insight that could improve understanding of colloid fate and transport in natural unsaturated porous media. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.