We develop and test a modeling approach to quantify turbulence-driven solute transport and mixing in porous media. Our approach addresses two key elements: (a) the spatial variability of the effective diffusion coefficient which is typically documented in the presence of a sediment–fluid interface and (b) the need to provide a model that can yield the complete distribution of the concentration probability density function, not being limited only to the mean concentration value and thus fully addressing solute mixing. Our work is motivated by the importance of solute transport processes in the hyporheic zone, which can have strong implications in natural attenuation of pollutants. Our approach combines Lagrangian schemes to address transport and mixing in the presence of spatial variability of effective diffusion. An exemplary scenario we consider targets a setup constituted by a homogeneous (fully saturated) porous medium underlying a clear water column where turbulent flow is generated. Solute concentration histories obtained through a model based solely on diffusive transport are benchmarked against an analytical solution. These are then compared against the results obtained by modeling the combined effects of diffusion and mixing. A rigorous sensitivity analysis is performed to evaluate the influence of model parameters on solute concentrations and mixing, the latter being quantified in terms of the scalar dissipation rate.
Modeling solute transport and mixing in heterogeneous porous media under turbulent flow conditions
Elisa Baioni, Mohaddeseh Mousavi Nezhad, Giovanni Michele Porta, Alberto Guadagnini; Modeling solute transport and mixing in heterogeneous porous media under turbulent flow conditions. Physics of Fluids 1 October 2021; 33 (10): 106604. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0065734
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