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Demonstration of Reversible Dispersion in a Darcy-Scale Push-Pull Laboratory Experiment

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A solute transport experiment was conducted in a 50 cm \(\times\) 50 cm \(\times\) 4.4 cm apparatus filled with monodisperse glass beads and glycerin, using Rhodamine 6G dye as the solute. The dye movement was tracked through two cycles of a push-pull flow pattern, alternating between approximately radial outward flow and approximately radial inward flow. Depth-averaged concentration was measured during the experiment and integrated over the angular direction during post-processing to obtain a radial distribution of concentration. The experimental results were replicated using particle tracking, simulating advection and dispersion in the radial direction, including reversible dispersion during extraction. Results show that spreading of the measured concentrations follow a Fickian dispersion model during steps with radial outward flow. During steps with radial inward flow, spreading is reversed and can be modeled as reversible dispersion. The observed reversal in spreading is an indication of incomplete mixing within the pore space.

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The datasets used in the current study are available from the corresponding author on request.

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No specialized code was used in this study.


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This research was funded by the National Science Foundation under Grants EAR-1417005 and EAR-1417017.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and collection of experimental data were performed by Eric J. Roth, under the supervision of John P. Crimaldi. Analysis of experimental data was performed by Eric J. Roth and Roseanna M. Neupauer. Numerical simulations were performed by Roseanna M. Neupauer. The manuscript was written by Roseanna M. Neupauer, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Roseanna M. Neupauer.

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Neupauer, R.M., Roth, E.J., Crimaldi, J.P. et al. Demonstration of Reversible Dispersion in a Darcy-Scale Push-Pull Laboratory Experiment. Transp Porous Med 146, 351–367 (2023).

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