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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 44 No. 6, p. 1139-1146
     
    Received: Dec 20, 1979
    Published: Nov, 1980


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doi:10.2136/sssaj1980.03615995004400060003x

Solute Transport in Aggregated Porous Media: Theoretical and Experimental Evaluation1

  1. P. S. C. Rao,
  2. D. E. Rolston,
  3. R. E. Jessup and
  4. J. M. Davidson2

Abstract

Abstract

Breakthrough curves (BTC's) for 36Cl- and 3H2O displacement through water-saturated columns of aggregated and nonaggregated porous media were measured at pore-water velocities varying over an order of magnitude (2 to 96 cm/hour). These BTC's were used to verify two conceptual solute transport models in which the pore-water was partitioned into inter- and intra-aggregate regions. In both models, convective-dispersive solute transport was assumed to be limited to the inter-aggregate pore-water region, while the intra-aggregate pore-water was assumed to behave as a diffusion sink/source for solute. The rate of solute transfer between the two pore-water regions was described either by Fick's second law of diffusion written in spherical coordinates (Model I) or was assumed proportional to the concentraion difference between the two regions (Model II). Values of all input parameters in each model were measured in independent experiments rather than by curvefitting to the measured BTC's. Agreement between calculated and measured BTC's at all velocities was good for both models. The value of the mass transfer rate coefficient in Model II was found to vary with aggregate radius, time, and pore-water velocity. This result was predicted based on theory and experimental results presented in an earlier paper. Conditions under which solute diffusion in aggregates leads to tailing or asymmetry in measured BTC's (during saturated water flow) were identified from a sensitivity analysis using Model I. For certain aggregate radii and pore-water velocities, the diffusion sink/source effects of the aggregates could be incorporated into the dispersion coefficient, and this lumped-parameter approach was used to successfully describe the measured BTC's.

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