Hydrology, Cryosphere & Earth Surface Editors' Highlights

Modeling Transport and Charge Effects in Heterogeneous Media

Simulation of charged species reactive transport in complex physically and electrostatically heterogeneous porous media is possible with a multiple continua approach coupled to a geochemical code.

Source: Water Resources Research


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Traditional reactive transport models account for multiple species but disregard the electrostatic effects caused by the spatial and temporal distribution of charged species in the transport of ionic species. Muniruzzaman and Rolle [2019] focus on heterogeneous sandy-clayey porous systems and on the impact of charge interactions on transport and distribution of contaminants, including charged ions, under flow-through conditions.

The proposed approach subdivides the pore space into charge-neutral and charged zones and takes into account electrostatic effects at the surface/solution interface and between ions in the pore water. The outcomes of the flow and transport simulations show that the spatially variable physical and electrostatic properties impact the distribution and breakthrough of charged species both at the laboratory and field scales.

This is a significant and breakthrough study that opens new ways to our understanding of subsurface multi physicochemical transport phenomena. It is potentially relevant for a broad range of applications from contaminant transport to carbon storage, and from reservoir engineering to the design of repositories of radioactive wastes.

Citation: Muniruzzaman, M., & Rolle, M. [2019]. Multicomponent ionic transport modeling in physically and electrostatically heterogeneous porous media with PhreeqcRM coupling for geochemical reactions. Water Resources Research, 55, 11121– 11143. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019WR026373

—Xavier Sanchez-Vila, Editor, Water Resources Research

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