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Derivation of the

Advection-Dispersion Equation (ADE)


Assumptions
1. Equivalent porous medium (epm)
(i.e., a medium with connected pore space
or a densely fractured medium with a single
network of connected fractures)
2. Miscible flow
(i.e., solutes dissolve in water; DNAPLs and
LNAPLs require a different governing equation.
See p. 472, note 15.5, in Zheng and Bennett.)

3. No density effects
Density-dependent flow requires
a different governing equation. See
Zheng and Bennett, Chapter 15.
Figures from Freeze & Cherry (1979)
Derivation of the
Advection-Dispersion Equation (ADE)
s
h h
KA Q

=
1 2
Darcys law:
h
1
h
2
q =Q/A
advective flux
f
A
= q c
h
1
h
2
f =F/A
h
1
h
2
f
A
= advective flux = qc

f = f
A
+ f
D
How do we quantify the
dispersive flux?
s
c c
A D F d Diff

=
1 2
How about
Ficks law of diffusion?
where D
d
is the effective
diffusion coefficient.
Ficks law describes diffusion of ions on a
molecular scale as ions diffuse from areas of
higher to lower concentrations.
Dual Porosity
Domain
Figure from Freeze & Cherry (1979)
We need to introduce a law to describe
dispersion, to account for the deviation of
velocities from the average linear velocity
calculated by Darcys law.
Average linear velocity
True velocities
We will assume that dispersion follows
Ficks law, or in other words, that dispersion
is Fickian. This is an important assumption;
it turns out that the Fickian assumption is not
strictly valid near the source of the contaminant.
s
c c
D fD

=
1 2

where D is the dispersion coefficient.


porosity
Mathematically, porosity functions as a kind of
units conversion factor.
Porosity ()
for example:

q c = v c
Later we will define the dispersion coefficient
in terms of v and therefore we insert now:
s
c c
D fD

=
1 2

Assume 1D flow
and a line source
Case 1
c v c
x
h h
K c q f x x A =

= = ] [
1 2
Advective flux
x
c c
D f x D

=
1 2

Dispersive flux
Assume 1D flow
D is the dispersion coefficient. It includes
the effects of dispersion and diffusion. D
x
is sometimes
written D
L
and called the longitudinal dispersion coefficient.
porosity
Case 1
Assume 1D flow
and a point source
Case 2
f
A
= q
x
c
Advective flux
D
x
represents longitudinal dispersion (& diffusion);
D
y
represents horizontal transverse dispersion (& diffusion);
D
z
represents vertical transverse dispersion (& diffusion).
) (
1 2
x
c c
D f x Dx

=
) (
1 2
z
c c
D f z Dz

=
Dispersive fluxes
) (
1 2
y
c c
D f y Dy

=
Figure from Freeze & Cherry (1979)
Continuous point source
Instantaneous point source
Average
linear
velocity
center of mass
Figure from Wang and Anderson (1982)
Instantaneous
Point Source
transverse
dispersion
longitudinal dispersion
Gaussian
Derivation of the ADE for
1D uniform flow and 3D dispersion
(e.g., a point source in a uniform flow field)
f = f
A
+ f
D
Mass Balance:
Flux out Flux in = change in mass
v
x
= a constant
v
y
= v
z
= 0

Porosity ()
There are two types of porosity in transport problems:
total porosity and effective porosity.

Total porosity includes immobile pore water, which contains
solute and therefore it should be accounted for when
determining the total mass in the system.

Effective porosity accounts for water in interconnected pore
space, which is flowing/mobile.
In practice, we assume that total porosity equals effective
porosity for purposes of deriving the advection-dispersion eqn.
See Zheng and Bennett, pp. 56-57.
Definition of the Dispersion Coefficient
in a 1D uniform flow field
v
x
= a constant
v
y
= v
z
= 0

D
x
=
x
v
x
+ D
d

D
y
=
y
v
x
+ D
d

D
z
=
z
v
x
+ D
d

where
x

z
are known as dispersivities. Dispersivity is
essentially a fudge factor to account for the deviations of
the true velocities from the average linear velocities
calculated from Darcys law.

Rule of thumb:
y
= 0.1
x
;
z
= 0.1
y

t
c
x
c
v
z
c
D
y
c
D
x
c
D z y x

2
2
2
2
2
2
ADE for 1D uniform flow
and 3D dispersion
No sink/source term; no chemical reactions
Question: If there is no source term, how does
the contaminant enter the system?
t
c
x
c
v
x
c
D

2
2
Simpler form of the ADE
Uniform 1D flow; longitudinal dispersion;
No sink/source term; no chemical reactions
There is a famous analytical solution to this form of the
ADE with a continuous line source boundary condition.
The solution is called the Ogata & Banks solution.
Question: Is this equation valid for both point
and line source boundaries?
Effects of dispersion on the concentration profile
(Zheng & Bennett, Fig. 3.11)
no dispersion
dispersion
(Freeze & Cherry, 1979, Fig. 9.1)
t1 t2 t3
t4
Effects of dispersion on the
breakthrough curve
Figure from Wang and Anderson (1982)
Instantaneous
Point Source
Gaussian
Breakthrough
curve
Concentration
profile
long tail
Figure from Freeze & Cherry (1979)
Microscopic or local scale dispersion
Macroscopic Dispersion
(caused by the presence of heterogeneities)
Homogeneous aquifer
Heterogeneous
aquifers
Figure from Freeze & Cherry (1979)
Dispersivity () is a measure of the
heterogeneity present in the aquifer.
A very heterogeneous porous medium
has a higher dispersivity than a slightly
heterogeneous porous medium.
Dispersion in a 3D flow field
x
z
x
z
global local

K
xx
K
xy
K
xz

K
yx
K
yy
K
yz

K
zx
K
zy
K
zz
K
x
0 0
0 K
y
0
0 0 K
z
[K] = [R]
-1
[K] [R]
K =
z
h
K
y
h
K
x
h
K q
z
h
K
y
h
K
x
h
K q
z
h
K
y
h
K
x
h
K q
zz zy zx z
yz yy yx y
xz xy xx x

=
Dispersion Coefficient (D)
D = D + D
d
D
xx
D
xy
D
xz

D
yx
D
yy
D
yz

D
zx
D
zy
D
zz
D =
In general: D >> D
d
D represents dispersion
D
d
represents molecular diffusion

z
c
D
y
c
D
x
c
D f
z
c
D
y
c
D
x
c
D f
z
c
D
y
c
D
x
c
D f
zz zy zx Dz
yz yy yx Dy
xz xy xx Dx

=



In a 3D flow field it is not possible to simplify the dispersion
tensor to three principal components. In a 3D flow field,
we must consider all 9 components of the dispersion tensor.
The definition of the dispersion coefficient is more
complicated for 2D or 3D flow. See Zheng and Bennett,
eqns. 3.37-3.42.
D
x
=
x
v
x
+ D
d

D
y
=
y
v
x
+ D
d

D
z
=
z
v
x
+ D
d

Recall, that for
1D uniform flow:
General form of the ADE:
Expands to 9 terms
Expands to 3 terms
(See eqn. 3.48 in Z&B)