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Compound-specific transverse dispersion in porous media; Darcy-scale experiments and pore-scale modeling interpretation



Compound-specific transverse dispersion in porous media; Darcy-scale experiments and pore-scale modeling interpretation



Mineralogical Magazine 75.3: 1744



Multitracer laboratory bench-scale experiments and pore-scale simulations in different homogeneous saturated porous media were performed to (i) gain an improved understanding of the role of basic transport processes (i.e. advection and molecular diffusion) at the sub-continuum scale and their effect on the macroscopic description of transverse mixing in porous media; (ii) quantify the importance of compound-specific properties such as aqueous diffusivities for transport of different solutes. A non-linear compound-dependent parameterization of transverse hydrodynamic dispersion is required to capture the lateral displacement observed in the experiments over a wide range of seepage velocities (0.1-35 m/day). With pore-scale simulations we can prove the hypothesis that the interplay between advective and diffusive mass transfer results in vertical concentration gradients leading to incomplete mixing in the pore channels. We quantify mixing in the pore channels using the concept of flux-related dilution index and show that different solutes undergoing transport in a flow-through system with a given average velocity can show a different degree of incomplete mixing. We conclude that physical processes at the microscopic level significantly determine the observed macroscopic behavior and, therefore, should be properly reflected in up-scaled parameterizations of transport processes such as local hydrodynamic dispersion coefficients. These findings are relevant also for the interpretation of isotopic signatures in groundwater [1] and for mixing-controlled reactive transport. In the latter case, a correct quantification of transverse mixing is of utmost importance to assess the length of contaminant plumes [2].

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Accession: 037021503

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