Transport and Retention of Microorganisms in Porous Media: Comparison of Numerical Techniques and Parameter Estimation

Raghava R. Kommalapati
Guang-Te Wang
Dipak Roy
Donald Dean Adrian

DOI: 10.2190/48JF-9P4G-7GL1-TH44


Governing equations for the transport and retention of microorganisms in porous medium are reviewed and modified to describe various experimental conditions. Analytical solution and a numerical solution by Galerkin finite element method (GFEM) are available for a simplified case of transport of microorganisms in one dimensional flow through saturated porous medium. This article investigates a different numerical method, orthogonal collocation method (OCM), which is known to be more efficient and effective computationally, for solving the transport equations. The solutions obtained by these two numerical methods are compared with the analytical solution for the simplified case. The agreement between the numerical prediction by OCM and the analytical solution was observed to be better than that between the analytical solution and GFEM solution. The governing equations and the boundary conditions were further modified for unsaturated soil condition and solved by the OCM to verify the model using the experimental data available in the literature. As the values of the constants in the model for transport of microbes through porous media have never been established, a sensitivity analysis was performed to find the coefficients for effective dispersion, clogging and declogging of microbes in soil medium.

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