Articles | Volume 13, issue 8
05 Aug 2009
 | 05 Aug 2009

A general real-time formulation for multi-rate mass transfer problems

O. Silva, J. Carrera, M. Dentz, S. Kumar, A. Alcolea, and M. Willmann

Abstract. Many flow and transport phenomena, ranging from delayed storage in pumping tests to tailing in river or aquifer tracer breakthrough curves or slow kinetics in reactive transport, display non-equilibrium (NE) behavior. These phenomena are usually modeled by non-local in time formulations, such as multi-porosity, multiple processes non equilibrium, continuous time random walk, memory functions, integro-differential equations, fractional derivatives or multi-rate mass transfer (MRMT), among others. We present a MRMT formulation that can be used to represent all these models of non equilibrium. The formulation can be extended to non-linear phenomena. Here, we develop an algorithm for linear mass transfer, which is accurate, computationally inexpensive and easy to implement in existing groundwater or river flow and transport codes. We illustrate this approach by application to published data involving NE groundwater flow and solute transport in rivers and aquifers.