Effects of flow rate variation on solute transport in a karst conduit with a pool

  • Xiaoer Zhao
  • Yong ChangEmail author
  • Jichun Wu
  • Xiaofeng Xue
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Characterization, Modeling, and Remediation of Karst in a Changing Environment


To investigate the effects of flow rate variation on solute transport in a karst conduit, three pipe structures of a constant diameter pipe, the pipe connected to a symmetrical pool and an asymmetrical pool respectively were chosen, and several tracer experiments were conducted separately in each of the three pipe structures at nine flow rates. Experimental results show that the peak of the breakthrough curve (BTC) increased and the tailing decreased with increasing discharge. Three models, the advection–dispersion equation (ADE), the two-region nonequilibrium model (TRNM) and the transient storage model (TSM), were used to simulate BTCs and explore the change of transport parameters with increasing flow rate. Simulations show that ADE was capable of replicating the almost symmetrical BTCs of the single pipe but incapable of fitting the appreciable BTC tails for the pools. Nevertheless, TRNM and TSM can reproduce all BTCs of single pipe and pipe with a pool very well. The research demonstrates the significant effect of the pool on solute transport. The parameters in the two models (TRNM and TSM) exhibited similar trends with increasing discharge in either pool. In the TRNM, a clear positive correlation with discharge emerged for the partition coefficient and mass transfer coefficient. Meanwhile, the main channel cross-sectional area and exchange coefficient in TSM increased gradually with discharge. The storage zone area decreased generally with increasing flow rate. The relationship between solute transport and the flow rate is more complex in the asymmetrical pool than in the symmetrical pool.


Karst conduit Flow rate Solute transport Tracer experiments Transport models Breakthrough curve 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 41730856, U1503282, 41602242). The authors would like to thank Malcolm S. Field and Robert L. Runkel for their valuable suggestions for the modeling approaches.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoer Zhao
    • 1
  • Yong Chang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jichun Wu
    • 1
  • Xiaofeng Xue
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hydrosciences, School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.North China Engineering Investigation Institute Limited CompanyShijiazhuangChina

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