Journal article

Centrifuge modeling of unstable infiltration and solute transport

Unstable flow can result in the formation of fingers during infiltration into dry soil. Centrifuge modeling is a potentially useful tool to study the relationship between finger size, spacing, and velocity. It can also be used to investigate solute transport in such fingers. Physical properties of the fingers are obtained for three tests conducted at elevated acceleration levels. A fourth test was conducted at 1g. The physical parameters compare well with theoretical predictions. To assess solute transport in fingers, a known concentration of solute was introduced after the fingers had formed. The resulting breakthrough curves were analyzed using the two-region model as well as the advection dispersion equation with appropriate initial and boundary conditions. Although the two-region model is physically more plausible, it was found to match the extensive tailing observed in the breakthrough curves only marginally better than the advection-dispersion equation.


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