Exposure-time based modeling of nonlinear reactive transport in porous media subject to physical and geochemical heterogeneity

Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Alicia Sanz-PratOlaf A Cirpka


Transport of reactive solutes in groundwater is affected by physical and chemical heterogeneity of the porous medium, leading to complex spatio-temporal patterns of concentrations and reaction rates. For certain cases of bioreactive transport, it could be shown that the concentrations of reactive constituents in multi-dimensional domains are approximately aligned with isochrones, that is, lines of identical travel time, provided that the chemical properties of the matrix are uniform. We extend this concept to combined physical and chemical heterogeneity by additionally considering the time that a water parcel has been exposed to reactive materials, the so-called exposure time. We simulate bioreactive transport in a one-dimensional domain as function of time and exposure time, rather than space. Subsequently, we map the concentrations to multi-dimensional heterogeneous domains by means of the mean exposure time at each location in the multi-dimensional domain. Differences in travel and exposure time at a given location are accounted for as time difference. This approximation simplifies reactive-transport simulations significantly under conditions of steady-state flow when reactions are restricted to specific locations. It is not...Continue Reading


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