Buoyant convection from a discrete source in a leaky porous medium

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  • The application of turbulent plume theory in describing the dynamics of emptying filling boxes, control volumes connected to an infinite exterior through a series of openings along the upper and lower boundaries, has yielded novel strategies for the natural ventilation of buildings. Making the plume laminar and having it fall through a porous medium yields a problem of fundamental significance in its own right, insights from which may be applied, for example, in minimizing the contamination of drinking water by geologically sequestered CO2 or the chemicals leached from waste piles. After reviewing the theory appropriate to rectilinear and axisymmetric plumes in porous media, we demonstrate how the model equations may be adapted to the case of an emptying filling box. In this circumstance, the long-time solution consists of two ambient layers, each of which has a uniform density. The lower and upper layers comprise fluid that is respectively discharged by the plume and advected into the box through the upper opening. Our theory provides an estimate for both the height and thickness of the associated interface in terms of, for example, the source volume and buoyancy fluxes, the outlet area and permeability, and the depth-average solute dispersion coefficient, which is itself a function of the far-field horizontal flow speed. Complementary laboratory experiments are provided for the case of a line source plume and show very good agreement with model predictions. Our measurements also indicate that the permeability, kf , of the lower opening (or fissure) decreases with the density of the fluid being discharged, a fact that has been overlooked in some previous studies, wherein kf is assumed to depend only on the fissure geometry.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International