We investigate effective solute transport in a chemically heterogeneous medium subject to temporal fluctuations of the flow conditions. Focusing on spatial variations in the equilibrium adsorption properties, the corresponding fluctuating retardation factor is modeled as a stationary random space function. The temporal variability of the flow is represented by a stationary temporal random process. Solute spreading is quantified by effective dispersion coefficients, which are derived from the ensemble average of the second centered moments of the normalized solute distribution in a single disorder realization. Using first-order expansions in the variances of the respective random fields, we derive explicit compact expressions for the time behavior of the disorder induced contributions to the effective dispersion coefficients. Focusing on the contributions due to chemical heterogeneity and temporal fluctuations, we find enhanced transverse spreading characterized by a transverse effective dispersion coefficient that, in contrast to transport in steady flow fields, evolves to a disorder-induced macroscopic value (i.e., independent of local dispersion). At the same time, the asymptotic longitudinal dispersion coefficient can decrease. Under certain conditions the contribution to the longitudinal effective dispersion coefficient shows superdiffusive behavior, similar to that observed for transport in s stratified porous medium, before it decreases to its asymptotic value. The presented compact and easy to use expressions for the longitudinal and transverse effective dispersion coefficients can be used for the quantification of effective spreading and mixing in the context of the groundwater remediation based on hydraulic manipulation and for the effective modeling of reactive transport in heterogeneous media in general.

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Published on 01/01/2007

DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2006.11.010
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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