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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  06 Oct 2020

06 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Investigating the impact of exit effects on solute transport in macropored porous media

Jérôme Raimbault1, Pierre-Emmanuel Peyneau1, Denis Courtier-Murias1, Thomas Bigot1, Jaime Gil Roca2, Béatrice Béchet1, and Laurent Lassabatère3 Jérôme Raimbault et al.
  • 1GERS-LEE, Univ Gustave Eiffel, IFSTTAR, F-44344 Bouguenais, France
  • 2Laboratoire Navier, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, CNRS, Univ Gustave Eiffel, 6-8 avenue Blaise Pascal, 77455 Marne-la-Vallée, France
  • 3Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, ENTPE, UMR5023 LEHNA, F-69518, Vaulx-en-Velin, France

Abstract. The effect of macropore flow on solute transport has spurred much research over the last forty years. In this study, non-reactive solute transport in columns filled by macropored porous media was experimentally and numerically investigated, and the emphasis was put on the study of exit effects, whose very existence is inherent to the finite size of any experimental column. We specifically investigated the impact of the presence of a filter at the column outlet on water flow and solute transport in macropored systems. Experiments involving breakthrough measurements and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed that solute transport displayed some significant non-unidirectional features, with a strong mass exchange at the interface between the macropore and the matrix. Fluid dynamics and transport simulations indicated that this was due to the non-unidirectional nature of the flow field close to the outlet filter. The flow near the exit of the column was shown to be strongly impacted by the presence of the outlet filter, which acts as a barrier and redistributes water from the macropore to the matrix. This impact was apparent on the breakthrough curves and the MRI images. It was also confirmed by computer simulations and could, if not properly taken into account, impede the accurate inference of the transport properties of macropored porous media from breakthrough experiments.

Jérôme Raimbault et al.

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Jérôme Raimbault et al.

Jérôme Raimbault et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Contaminant transport in soils is known to be affected by soil heterogeneities, such as macropores. The transport properties of heterogeneous porous media can be studied in laboratory columns. However, the results reported in this study (a combination of breakthrough experiments, magnetic resonance imaging and computer simulations of transport) show that these properties can be largely affected by the boundary devices of the columns, thus highlighting the need to take their effect into account.
Contaminant transport in soils is known to be affected by soil heterogeneities, such as...