Effects of hydrodynamic dispersion on plume lengths for instantaneous bimolecular reactions

Philip A.S. Ham, Ruud J. Schotting, Henning Prommer, Greg B. Davis

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71 Citations (Scopus)


In this article a new two-dimensional analytical model is presented, which explores the effects of longitudinal (αL) and transverse (αT) dispersivity on the transient and steady state length of a plume undergoing an instantaneous bimolecular reaction. A solute Bis injected into a steady, uniform flow field in a homogeneous porous medium initially filled with a solute A. Mixing of the solutes occurs only through longitudinal and transversal dispersion and reaction between the solutes is assumed to occur where both solutes are simultaneously present. Explicit steady state solutions (in the limit t → ∞) are presented, which describe the distributions of reactants and products in x-y space in the form of the modified Bessel function of zero order and second kind. When αT ≤ αL ≤ 10 αT, i.e., limits typically used in practical engineering scenarios, the steady state length of a contaminant plume is obtained as a simple algebraic expression including αT; the influence of αL upon plume length being negligible. This phenomenon has been observed experimentally and in numerical simulations. The analysis provided in this paper proves that this behavior follows directly from the governing equations. In addition, the effects of hydrodynamic dispersion on the transient plume development are investigated. The assumption that αL is only important for the transient development of the plume is verified through the use of a numerical solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-813
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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