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Title: Mixing Cell Model: A One-Dimensional Numerical Model for Assessment of Water Flow and Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

This report describes the Mixing Cell Model code, a one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions. The model is based on the principles and assumptions underlying mixing cell model formulations. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes include explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. Two FORTRAN codes were developed to solve the water flow and solute transport equations: (1)more » the Mixing-Cell Model for Flow (MCMF) solves transient water flow problems and (2) the Mixing Cell Model for Transport (MCMT) solves the solute transport problem. The transient water flow problem is typically solved first by estimating the water flux through each cell in the model domain as a function of time using the MCMF code. These data are stored in either ASCII or binary files that are later read by the solute transport code (MCMT). Code output includes solute pore water concentrations, water and solute inventories in each cell and at each specified output time, and water and solute fluxes through each cell and specified output time. Computer run times for coupled transient water flow and solute transport were typically several seconds on a 2 GHz Intel Pentium IV desktop computer. The model was benchmarked against analytical solutions and finite-element approximations to the partial differential equations (PDE) describing unsaturated flow and transport. Differences between the maximum solute flux estimated by the mixing-cell model and the PDE models were typically less than two percent.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1023481
Report Number(s):
ICP/EXT-05-00748
TRN: US1104590
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho Completion Project (ICP)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE - EM
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MGMT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES/GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE STUDIES AND CLIMATE MITIGATION; ANALYTICAL SOLUTION; APPROXIMATIONS; CHAINS; COMPUTERS; CONTINUITY EQUATIONS; DECAY; DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS; FORTRAN; HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY; INVENTORIES; MASS BALANCE; MOISTURE; PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS; PRESSURE GRADIENTS; SOLUTES; SORPTION; SORPTIVE PROPERTIES; TRANSIENTS; TRANSPORT; WATER contaminant transport; mixing cell; model; unsaturated zone; water flow