Mathematical modeling of organic liquid dissolution in heterogeneous source zones

Zhilin Guo, Ann E. Russo, Erica L. DiFilippo, Zhihui Zhang, Chunmiao Zheng, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A simple one-dimensional heterogeneous-source model was used to simulate dissolution of organic liquid that was non-uniformly distributed in physically heterogeneous porous media. The permeability field was depicted as a pseudo-homogeneous medium. The source zone was discretized into multiple domains representing different organic-liquid configurations and hydraulic accessibilities, each with a different representative upscaled mass transfer rate coefficient that is temporally variable. This simplified approach represents a system where minimal information is available regarding system heterogeneities. All factors that influence dissolution were incorporated into the calibrated mass transfer terms. The mass transfer terms were calibrated for each zone separately. The one-dimensional, heterogeneous-source model adequately simulated the multi-stage dissolution behavior observed for column-scale systems that were packed with different natural soils, as well as for flow-cell systems wherein the source zone consisted of both a residual zone and pool. The results indicate that the model adequately simulated the presence of multiple organic-liquid zones in porous media with different configurations and hydraulic accessibilities, which accounts for the non-ideal dissolution behavior observed. The calibrated mass transfer terms for each source type were consistent with those obtained for systems that contained only one of either source type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103716
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Heterogeneous-source model
  • Multi-stage mass discharge
  • NAPL dissolution
  • Upscaled models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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