Vectorized simulation of groundwater flow and contaminant transport using analytic element method and random walk particle tracking

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Abstract

Groundwater contaminant transport processes are usually simulated by the finite difference (FDM) or finite element methods (FEM). However, they are susceptible to numerical dispersion for advection-dominated transport. In this study, a numerical dispersion-free coupled flow and transport model is developed by combining the analytic element method (AEM) with random walk particle tracking (RWPT). As AEM produces continuous velocity distribution over the entire aquifer domain, it is more suitable for RWPT than FDM/finite element methods. Using the AEM solutions, RWPT tracks all the particles in a vectorized manner, thereby improving the computational efficiency. The present model performs a convolution integral of the response of an impulse contaminant injection to generate concentration distributions due to a permanent contaminant source. The RWPT model is validated with an available analytical solution and compared to an FDM solution, the RWPT model more accurately replicates the analytical solution. Further, the coupled AEM-RWPT model has been applied to simulate the flow and transport in hypothetical and field aquifer problems. The results are compared with the FDM solutions and found to be satisfactory. The results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed method.

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