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Effects of flow rate variation on solute transport in a karst conduit with a pool

Zhao, Xiaoer, Chang, Yong, Wu, Jichun, Xue, Xiaofeng
Environmental earth sciences 2019 v.78 no.7 pp. 237
equations, karsts, mass transfer, models, solutes
To investigate the effects of flow rate variation on solute transport in a karst conduit, three pipe structures of a constant diameter pipe, the pipe connected to a symmetrical pool and an asymmetrical pool respectively were chosen, and several tracer experiments were conducted separately in each of the three pipe structures at nine flow rates. Experimental results show that the peak of the breakthrough curve (BTC) increased and the tailing decreased with increasing discharge. Three models, the advection–dispersion equation (ADE), the two-region nonequilibrium model (TRNM) and the transient storage model (TSM), were used to simulate BTCs and explore the change of transport parameters with increasing flow rate. Simulations show that ADE was capable of replicating the almost symmetrical BTCs of the single pipe but incapable of fitting the appreciable BTC tails for the pools. Nevertheless, TRNM and TSM can reproduce all BTCs of single pipe and pipe with a pool very well. The research demonstrates the significant effect of the pool on solute transport. The parameters in the two models (TRNM and TSM) exhibited similar trends with increasing discharge in either pool. In the TRNM, a clear positive correlation with discharge emerged for the partition coefficient and mass transfer coefficient. Meanwhile, the main channel cross-sectional area and exchange coefficient in TSM increased gradually with discharge. The storage zone area decreased generally with increasing flow rate. The relationship between solute transport and the flow rate is more complex in the asymmetrical pool than in the symmetrical pool.