Implementation and evaluation of permeability-porosity and tortuosity-porosity relationships linked to mineral dissolution-precipitation
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- Xie, M., Mayer, K.U., Claret, F. et al. Comput Geosci (2015) 19: 655. doi:10.1007/s10596-014-9458-3
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Changes of porosity, permeability, and tortuosity due to physical and geochemical processes are of vital importance for a variety of hydrogeological systems, including passive treatment facilities for contaminated groundwater, engineered barrier systems (EBS), and host rocks for high-level nuclear waste (HLW) repositories. Due to the nonlinear nature and chemical complexity of the problem, in most cases, it is impossible to verify reactive transport codes analytically, and code intercomparisons are the most suitable method to assess code capabilities and model performance. This paper summarizes model intercomparisons for six hypothetical scenarios with generally increasing geochemical or physical complexity using the reactive transport codes CrunchFlow, HP1, MIN3P, PFlotran, and TOUGHREACT. Benchmark problems include the enhancement of porosity and permeability through mineral dissolution, as well as near complete clogging due to localized mineral precipitation, leading to reduction of permeability and tortuosity. Processes considered in the benchmark simulations are advective-dispersive transport in saturated media, kinetically controlled mineral dissolution-precipitation, and aqueous complexation. Porosity changes are induced by mineral dissolution-precipitation reactions, and the Carman-Kozeny relationship is used to describe changes in permeability as a function of porosity. Archie’s law is used to update the tortuosity and the pore diffusion coefficient as a function of porosity. Results demonstrate that, generally, good agreement is reached amongst the computer models despite significant differences in model formulations. Some differences are observed, in particular for the more complex scenarios involving clogging; however, these differences do not affect the interpretation of system behavior and evolution.