Gravity Affected Lateral Dispersion and Diffusion in a Stationary Horizontal Porous Medium Shear Flow

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Transport of dissolved species by a carrier fluid in a porous medium comprises advection and diffusion/dispersion processes. Hydrodynamic dispersion is commonly characterized by an empirical relationship, in which the dispersion mechanism is described by contributions of molecular diffusion and mechanical dispersion expressed as a function of the molecular Peclét number. Mathematically these two phenomena are modeled by a constant diffusion coefficient and by velocity dependent dispersion coefficients, respectively. Here, the commonly utilized Bear–Scheidegger dispersion model of linear proportionality between mechanical dispersion and velocity, and the more complicated Bear–Bachmat model derived on a streamtube array model porous medium and better describing observed dispersion coefficients in the moderate molecular Peclét number range, will be considered. Analyzing the mixing flow of two parallelly flowing confluent fluids with different concentrations of a dissolved species within the frames of boundary layer theory one has to deal with transverse mixing only. With the Boussinesq approximation being adopted approximate analytical solutions of the corresponding boundary layer system of equations show that there is no effect of density coupling on concentration distributions across the mixing layer in the pure molecular diffusion regime case. With the Peclét number of the oncoming flow growing beyond unity, density coupling has an increasing influence on the mixing zone. When the Peclét number grows further this influence is successively reduced until its disappearance in the pure mechanical dispersion regime.

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