Chemical species are advected by water and undergo mixing processes due to effects of local diffusion and/or dispersion. In turn, mixing causes reactions to take place so that the system can locally equilibrate. In general, a multicomponent reactive transport problem is described through a system of coupled non-linear partial differential equations. Under instantaneous chemical equilibrium, a complex geochemical problem can be highly simplified by fully defining the system in terms of conservative quantities, termed master species or components, and the space–time distribution of reaction rates. We investigate the parameters controlling reaction rates in a heterogeneous aquifer at short distances from the source. Hydraulic conductivity at this scale is modeled as a random process with highly anisotropic correlation structure. In the limit for very large horizontal integral scales, the medium can be considered as stratified. Upon modeling transport by means of an ADE (Advection Dispersion Equation), we derive closed-form analytical solutions for statistical moments of reaction rates for the particular case of negligible transverse dispersion. This allows obtaining an expression for an effective hydraulic conductivity, , as a representative parameter describing the mean behavior of the reactive system. The resulting is significantly smaller than the effective conductivity representative of the flow problem. Finally, we analyze numerically the effect of accounting for transverse local dispersion. We show that transverse dispersion causes no variation in the distribution of (ensemble) moments of local reaction rates at very short travel times, while it becomes the dominant effect for intermediate to large travel times.

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Published on 01/01/2008

DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2008.07.001
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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