Derivation and application of effective parameters for modeling moisture flow in heterogeneous unsaturated porous media
AuthorBosch, David Dean,1958-
Committee ChairYeh, Tian-Chyi Jim
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSpatial variability of porous media often prevents precise physical characterization of the system. In order to model moisture and solute transport through this media, certain sacrifices in precision must be made. Physical characteristics of the system must be averaged over large scales, lumping the small scale variability into the large scale characterization. Although this precludes a precise definition of the small scale flow characteristics, parameterization is much more attainable. This study addresses methods for determining effective hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated porous media. Effective conductivity is used to describe the large scale behavior of the system. Different methods for calculating the effective conductivity are presented and compared. Results indicate that the unit mean gradient method produces good estimates of the effective conductivity and can be applied using limited field data. The zone of correlation of the hydraulic parameters can be used in experimental design to minimize the errors associated with estimation of the mean pressure. An inverse method for evaluating the optimum effective hydraulic parameters is presented. Results indicate the optimization procedure is more sensitive to wetting than to drying conditions. Because of interaction between the hydraulic parameters, concurrent optimization of more than two of the parameters based on soil pressure data alone is not advised. Anisotropy in an unsaturated soil was found to be a function of the profile mean soil pressure. Results indicate the effective conductivity for flow parallel to soil layering can be estimated from the arithmetic mean of the unsaturated conductivity values for each of the layers and is between the harmonic and geometric means of these data for flow perpendicular to the layering. Estimates of the effective unsaturated hydraulic conductivity obtained through stochastic analysis agreed well with simulation results. Deviations between the stochastic predictions and simulation results are larger when the variability of the soil profile is greater and begin to deviate significantly when the variance of ln K(ψ₀) exceeds 5.0 and the variance of a exceeds 0.02 1/cm².
Degree NamePh. D.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources