Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 57–73 | Cite as

On the Influence of Pore-Scale Dispersion in Nonergodic Transport in Heterogeneous Formations

  • Aldo Fiori


Flow of an inert solute in an heterogeneous aquifer is usually considered as dominated by large-scale advection. As a consequence, the pore-scale dispersion, i.e. the pore scale mechanism acting at scales lower than that characteristic of the heterogeneous field, is usually neglected in the computation of global quantities like the solute plume spatial moments. Here the effect of pore-scale dispersion is taken into account in order to find its influence on the longitudinal asymptotic dispersivity D11we examine both the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional flow cases. In the calculations, we consider the finite size of the solute initial plume, i.e. we analyze both the ergodic and the nonergodic cases. With Pe the Péclat number, defined as Pe=Uλ/D, where U, λ, D are the mean fluid velocity, the heterogeneity characteristic length and the pore-scale dispersion coefficient respectively, we show that the infinite Péclat approximation is in most cases quite adequate, at least in the range of Péclat number usually encountered in practice (Pe > 102). A noteworthy exception is when the formation log-conductivity field is highly anisotropic. In this case, pore-scale may have a significant impact on D11, especially when the solute plume initial dimensions are not much larger than the heterogeneities' lengthscale. In all cases, D11 appears to be more sensitive to the pore-scale dispersive mechanisms under nonergodic conditions, i.e. for plume initial size less than about 10 log-conductivity integral scales.

groundwater nonergodic transport dispersion heterogeneous formations hydrogeology 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aldo Fiori
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Ingegneria CivileUniversità di Roma Tre, RomaRomaItly

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