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Modelling solute dispersion in periodic heterogeneous porous media: model benchmarking against intermediate scale experiments

Abstract : This paper is devoted to theoretical and experimental investigations of solute dispersion in heterogeneous porous media. Dispersion in heterogenous porous media has been reported to be scale-dependent, a likely indication that the proposed dispersion models are incompletely formulated. A high quality experimental data set of breakthrough curves in periodic model heterogeneous porous media is presented. In contrast with most previously published experiments, the present experiments involve numerous replicates. This allows the statistical variability of experimental data to be accounted for. Several models are benchmarked against the data set: the Fickian-based advection-dispersion, mobile-immobile, multirate, multiple region advection dispersion models, and a newly proposed dispersion model based on pure advection. A salient property of the latter model is that its solutions exhibit a ballistic behaviour for small times, while tending to the Fickian behaviour for large time scales. Model performance is assessed using a novel objective function accounting for the statistical variability of the experimental data set, while putting equal emphasis on both small ad large time scale behaivours. Besides being as accurate as the other models, the new purely advective model has the advantages that (i) it does not exhibit the undesirable eects associated with the usual Fickian operator (namely the innite solute front propagation speed), and (ii) it allows dispersive transport to be simulated on every heterogeneity scale using scale-independent parameters.
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Samer Majdalani, Vincent Guinot, Carole Delenne, Hicham Gebran. Modelling solute dispersion in periodic heterogeneous porous media: model benchmarking against intermediate scale experiments. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2018, 561, pp.427-443. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.024⟩. ⟨hal-01728193⟩

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