Multidimensional Validation of a Numerical Model for Simulating a DNAPL Release in Heterogeneous Porous Media
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
A fixed-volume release of 1,2-DCE, tracked in space and time with a light transmission/image analysis system, provided a data set for the infiltration, redistribution, and immobilisation of a dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) in a heterogeneous porous medium. The two-dimensional bench scale flow cell was packed with a spatially correlated, random heterogeneous distribution of six sand types. In order to provide the necessary modelling parameters, detailed constitutive relationships were measured at the local scale for the six sands. These experiments revealed that nonwetting phase (NWP) relative permeability–saturation (krN–SW) relationships are strongly correlated to sand type. Trends in the best-fit krN–SW parameters reflected a positive correlation between mean grain diameter and the maximum NWP relative permeability, krNmax. Multiphase flow simulations of the bench scale experiment best reproduced the experimental observations, producing excellent matches in both time and space, when the measured, correlated local scale krN–SW relationships were employed.