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Vadose Zone Journal
Vol. 3, No: xx, 2004; Pages: : 513–526

A Solute Flux Approach to Transport through Bounded,
Unsaturated Heterogeneous Porous Media

Alexander Y. Sun* and Dongxiao Zhang

Center for Nuclear Waste and Regulatory Analyses, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238.


In this paper, we present a solute flux approach for analyzing solutetransport statistics in statistically nonstationary, unsaturated flow.Flow nonstationarity in the vadose zone may arise from a number offactors. It is useful to develop a systematic approach that incorporatesthese factors into an uncertainty analysis. We first derive the generalforms for solute flux moments. The solute flux moments are associatedwith one- and two-particle joint probability distribution functions(JPDF). We illustrate our results for certain forms of one-particleand two-particle JPDFs, in which the particle travel time is assumedto be lognormally distributed and the particle transverse displacementnormally distributed. In the numerical examples, the Eulerian velocitymoments is obtained by solving the head moment equations numerically using a finite-difference method. Our results show that flownonstationarity has a significant impact on the statistics of solute fluxesand solute breakthrough curves.

Keywords:Heterogeneous Porous Media;solute flux moments;joint probability distribution functions;macrostreamline;radionuclide.

Corresponding author:

E-mail: asun@cnwra.swri.edu


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