Matrix diffusion has become widely recognized as an important transport mechanism. Unfortunately, accounting for matrix diffusion complicates solute-transport simulations. This problem has led to simplified formulations, partly motivated by the solution method. As a result, some confusion has been generated about how to properly pose the problem. One of the objectives of this work is to find some unity among existing formulations and solution methods. In doing so, some asymptotic properties of matrix diffusion are derived. Specifically, early-time behavior (short tests) depends only on , whereas late-time behavior (long tracer tests) depends only on , and not on matrix diffusion coefficient or block size and shape. The latter is always true for mean arrival time. These properties help in: (a) analyzing the qualitative behavior of matrix diffusion; (b) explaining one paradox of solute transport through fractured rocks (the apparent dependence of porosity on travel time); (c) discriminating between matrix diffusion and other problems (such as kinetic sorption or heterogeneity); and (d) describing identifiability problems and ways to overcome them.

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Published on 01/01/1997

DOI: 10.1007/s100400050143

Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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