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UPC: C/ Jordi Girona 31, (08034 - Barcelona) - IDAEA: C/ Jordi Girona 18-26, (08034 - Barcelona)

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Mechanisms and stochastic dynamics of transport in Darcy-scale heterogeneous porous media.

Lectura de Tesis Doctoral

Mechanisms and stochastic dynamics of transport in Darcy-scale heterogeneous porous media


Alessandro Comolli

PhD Student


Thesis advisors: Dr. Marco Dentz / Dr. Daniel Fernández García (UPC)

The defense will take place:
thursday, june 14th 2018, 11:00

UPC, Campus Nord
Building C1. Classroom: 002
C/Jordi Girona, 1-3
08034 Barcelona

A flexible framework for modeling surface-subsurface hydraulic and water quality processes

a cargo de: Arash Massoudieh (Catholic University of America)
Fecha: Martes 12 de Junio a las 12:15 h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja


In this presentation GIFMOD, a new flexible and user-friendly modeling tool for forward and inverse modeling of environmental processes in the surface, subsurface, and the vadose zone will be introduced. GIFMOD can be used to model flow, particle transport and reactive transport in systems composed of streams, ponds, soil, groundwater, catchments, and plants. Transport of multiple classes of particles undergoing settling, resuspension, filtration, and remobilization can also be modeled. The model also allows prediction of transport and reaction of user defined water quality constituents in the system based on user-provided reaction networks and biokinetics rate expressions. Plants can be considered as individual blocks uptaking water and chemicals through their root system. The modeling framework allows users to represent the system they intend to model with the desired level of complexity and only include the processes they deem essential in the processes. GIFMOD also has a built-in parameter estimation capability both for doing point estimates using a hybrid genetic algorithm and probabilistic parameter estimation using Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. The flexibility of the tool allows it to be applied to a wide range of systems ranging from stream networks, stream-catchment systems, surface water-groundwater interaction, batch and column experiments, best management practices, and groundwater flow and reactive transport among others. I will demonstrate the utility of GIFMOD to simulate flow and transport in a stream, bioretention, infiltration basin and permeable pavement GI systems.

Heat Dissipation Test with Fiber-Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing to estimate Groundwater Flow

a cargo de: Laura del Val Alonso (Estudiante PhD)
Dia: Jueves 07 de Junio a las 12:15 h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja

Direct measurement of groundwater flux is desirable for the quantitative and qualitative monitoring of coastal aquifers, for understanding processes at the fresh-salt water interface and for estimating submarine groundwater discharge. Traditionally, hydraulic conductivity was measured in order to estimate flow rates. Instead, this research propose a new methodology to directly quantify groundwater flux in coastal aquifers, by using high temporal and spatial resolution Fibre-Optic Distributed Temperature sensing (FO-DTS). The method will be able to provide distributed groundwater fluxes.
A Heat Dissipation Test was conducted in the Argentona site (Spain). The system consists of a pumping well and an observation well, both located 70 meters away from the coast line. The armoured FO cable was installed in both wells outside the well casing. The pumping well was pumping for two days with a constant flow rate. The cable at the observation well, located 2 m from the pumping well, was heated for 41 hours. The obtained heating response at the observation well was used to validate the method.
In this study we show the preliminary results in which heat dissipation is governed by thermal advection and conduction. Thermal advection is driven by groundwater flow, a variable that changes in time and space. On the contrary, thermal conduction is controlled by thermal conductivity, a well-known and constant parameter. An Infinite Line Source heat transport analytical model is used to estimate saturated soil thermal conductivity and groundwater fluxes. During the first minutes of the test, temperature rises considerably due to the low thermal conductivity of the cable materials, leading to a skin effect analogous to that of well hydraulics, which needs to be acknowledged during interpretation of the heating test. The resulting groundwater fluxes are validated with velocity estimated with pumping test data

Chemical Continuous Time Random Walks

a cargo de: Tomás Aquino (IDAEA-CSIC)
Fecha: Jueves 31 de Mayo a las 12:15 h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja


Accurately simulating reactive transport through heterogeneous media requires resolving the spatial scales at which mixing takes place. This typically requires a fine spatial discretization (Eulerian methods) or large numbers of particles (Lagrangian methods), leading to prohibitively expensive simulations for large-scale transport. We explore a different approach and consider the question: In heterogeneous chemically reactive systems, is it possible to describe the evolution of macroscopic reactant concentrations without explicitly resolving the spatial transport? Traditional Kinetic Monte Carlo methods, such as the Gillespie algorithm [1], model chemical reactions as random walks in particle number space, without the introduction of spatial coordinates. The inter-reaction times are exponentially distributed under the assumption that the system is well mixed. In real systems, transport limitations lead to incomplete mixing and decreased reaction efficiency. We introduce an arbitrary inter-reaction time distribution, which may account for the impact of incomplete mixing. The resulting process defines an inhomogeneous continuous time random walk in particle number space, from which we derive a generalized chemical master equation and formulate a generalized Gillespie algorithm [2]. We then determine the modified chemical rate laws for different inter-reaction time distributions, which describe the macroscopic reaction kinetics. We trace Michaelis–Menten-type kinetics back to finite-mean delay times, and predict time-nonlocal macroscopic reaction kinetics as a consequence of broadly distributed delays. Non-Markovian kinetics exhibit weak ergodicity breaking and show key features of reactions under local non-equilibrium.

Impact of periodic temporal fluctuations on mixing and chemical reactions in coastal aquifers

a cargo de: María Pool
Fecha: Jueves 24 de Mayo a las 12:15 h
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja

Mixing and dispersion in coastal aquifers are controlled by density variations, which are influenced by temporal fluctuations on multiple time-scales ranging from days (tides), seasons (pumping and recharge) to glacial cycles (regression and transgressions). We investigate effective mixing and solute transport in temporally fluctuating flow and their impact on chemical reactions in coastal aquifers. For the reactive transport system the geochemical setup of calcite dissolution-precipitation is considered. We first study the effects of heterogeneity and density variations on mixing and solute transport in temporally fluctuating flow for a stable stratification of two fluids (horizontal interface). We find that the coupling of structural heterogeneity, transient forcing and density-driven flow leads to complex reaction patterns where the mass transfer mechanisms control the configuration of the conduits and cave formation (Pool and Dentz 2018). Then, we extent the analysis to account for the characteristic freshwater-seawater convection cell in coastal aquifers. We consider long period sea-level fluctuations (scales of millennia). Porosity and permeability changes in response to the dissolution of calcite are considered. We find that when long period fluctuations are considered, maze dissolution network patterns emerge with vertical conduit developments connected to main horizontal bedding caves and chambers. Our results provide a plausible explanation for the formation of geochemical reaction patterns observed in coastal karst aquifers.

Risk assessment of Managed Aquifer Recharge in Mediterranean basins

a cargo de:  Arnau Canelles García
Día: Jueves 17 de Mayo a las 12:15 h
Lurgar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja


Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) can be affected by a series of events that can be considered an issue for its operation. Those events represent different parts of the operation of a MAR facility like recharge, water quality and quantity, engineering works failure, etc. These events can be classified into different issue groups: technical (quality, quantity, specific targets and structural damages) and non-technical (social, economic, legislation and governance). The combination of those events can be used to quantify the risk of failure of the MAR facility. In this project, risk is quantified by means of a Fault Tree within a Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) framework. The Fault tree developed consist of 65 events applicable to the operation phase of a MAR facility. That combination of events can lead to a failure (partial in the case of this work) of the facility which probability represents the risk. This methodology has been applied to six different MAR sites located in five countries in the Mediterranean Basin. The probabilities of occurrence for each event have been defined by “expert criteria”, provided by each manager of the studied facilities. We can conclude that for all sites, the perception from experts about the non-technical aspects is similar or even higher than those of the technical ones. Regarding risk values, in three out of six sites the probability of failure evaluated has exceeded 90%, while the other three sites, presented lower risks (75%, 29% and 18%) those differences in values are related mainly to each site’s characteristics.

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