Effects of compound-specific transverse mixing on steady-state reactive plumes: Insights from pore-scale simulations and Darcy-scale experiments

David L. Hochstetler, Massimo Rolle, Gabriele Chiogna, Christina M. Haberer, Peter Grathwohl, Peter K. Kitanidis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Transverse mixing is critical for reactions in porous media and recent studies have shown that to characterize such mixing at the Darcy scale a nonlinear compound-specific parameterization of transverse dispersion is necessary. We investigate the effectiveness of this description of transverse mixing in predicting reactive transport. We perform pore-scale numerical simulations and flow-through laboratory experiments to study mixing-limited reactions with continuous injection of reactants that result in steady-state reactive plumes. We consider product mass flux and reactant plume lengths as metrics of reactive transport. This study shows that the nonlinear parameterization of transverse dispersion consistently predicts both product mass flux and reactant plume extents across two orders of magnitude of mean flow velocities. In contrast, the classical linear parameterization of transverse dispersion, assuming a constant dispersivity as a property of the porous medium, could not consistently predict either indicator with great accuracy. Furthermore, the linear parameterization of transverse dispersion predicts an asymptotic (constant) plume length with increasing velocity while the nonlinear parameterization indicates that the plume length increases with the square root of the velocity. Both the pore-scale model simulations and the laboratory experiments of mixing-limited reactive transport show the latter relationship. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Water Science and Technology
  • Compound-specific transverse dispersion
  • Dilution index
  • Mixing
  • Plume length
  • Pore-scale modeling
  • Reactive transport
  • Dispersivity
  • Flowthrough
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Linear parameterizations
  • Mean flow velocities
  • Orders of magnitude
  • Pore-scale model
  • Pore-scale simulation
  • Porous medium
  • Reactive plumes
  • Square roots
  • Transverse dispersion
  • Transverse mixing
  • Computer simulation
  • Dispersions
  • Experiments
  • Parameterization
  • Porous materials
  • accuracy assessment
  • Darcy law
  • dilution
  • experimental study
  • flow velocity
  • laboratory method
  • mixing
  • nonlinearity
  • numerical model
  • parameterization
  • pore space
  • porous medium
  • reactive transport


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