Laboratory investigation and simulation of breakthrough curves in karst conduits with pools


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Publication Date

July 2017


A series of laboratory experiments are performed under various hydrological conditions to analyze the effect of pools in pipes on breakthrough curves (BTCs). The BTCs are generated after instantaneous injections of NaCl tracer solution. In order to test the feasibility of reproducing the BTCs and obtain transport parameters, three modeling approaches have been applied: the equilibrium model, the linear graphical method and the two-region nonequilibrium model. The investigation results show that pools induce tailing of the BTCs, and the shapes of BTCs depend on pool geometries and hydrological conditions. The simulations reveal that the two-region nonequilibrium model yields the best fits to experimental BTCs because the model can describe the transient storage in pools by the partition coefficient and the mass transfer coefficient. The model parameters indicate that pools produce high dispersion. The increased tailing occurs mainly because the partition coefficient decreases, as the number of pools increases. When comparing the tracer BTCs obtained using the two types of pools with the same size, the more appreciable BTC tails that occur for symmetrical pools likely result mainly from the less intense exchange between the water in the pools and the water in the pipe, because the partition coefficients for the two types of pools are virtually identical. Dispersivity values decrease as flow rates increase; however, the trend in dispersion is not clear. The reduced tailing is attributed to a decrease in immobile water with increasing flow rate. It provides evidence for hydrodynamically controlled tailing effects


Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 25, no. 8 (2017-07-10).


Karst, Breakthrough Curves, Pools, Laboratory Experiments, Modeling Approaches



Subject: topical

Karst; Breakthrough Curves; Pools; Laboratory Experiments; Modeling Approaches