An assessment of first-order stochastic dispersion theories in porous media

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Random realizations of three-dimensional exponentially correlated hydraulic conductivity fields are used in a finite-difference numerical flow model to calculate the mean and covariance of the corresponding Lagrangian-velocity fields. The dispersivity of the porous medium is then determined from the Lagrangian-velocity statistics using the Taylor definition. This estimation procedure is exact, except for numerical errors, and the results are used to assess the accuracy of various first-order dispersion theories in both isotropic and anisotropic porous media. The results show that the Dagan theory is by far the most robust in both isotropic and anisotropic media, producing accurate values of the principal dispersivity components for σγ as high as 1.0. In the case of anisotropic media where the flow is at an angle to the principal axis of hydraulic conductivity, it is shown that the dispersivity tensor is rotated away from the flow direction in the non-Fickian phase, but eventually coincides with the flow direction in the Fickian phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-73
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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