Evaluation of a Simple Method for Estimating Solute Transport Parameters Laboratory Studies

Lee, Jaehoon
Jaynes, Dan
Horton, Robert
Horton, Robert
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A two-domain, physical nonequilibrium solute transport model has been used to describe the transport and fate of solute in soil. The model contains the parameters θim (immobile water content) and α (mass transfer coefficient) which must be determined for a soil before applying the transport model. A simple field method that can estimate both θim and α without measuring extensive breakthrough curves (BTCs) has been presented. The purpose of this paper was to test in laboratory soil columns the simple method of estimating parameters by comparing to the conventional BTC analysis method of parameter estimation. The experiments involved 12-cm-long and 4-cm-diam. columns packed with five different soil materials. The BTCs were performed on each column using a sequential application of four fluorobenzoate tracers. Each tracer was applied for a different length of time. The soil columns were sectioned at the end of the BTC experiments. The simple method gave results of θim and α based upon the sectioned soil samples, and the BTC analysis gave results of θim and α based upon effluent concentrations. The estimates by the two different methods were from the same experiments. Most of the estimated α values using the simple method were within the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the BTC estimates. For 7 of 10 soil columns, the estimates of immobile water fraction, θim/θ, from the simple method were within the 95% CI of the estimates of θim/θ obtained from BTC data. Breakthrough curves calculated using the θim and α values estimated by the simple method were similar to observed BTCs. The simple method provides estimation of θim and α from easy to obtain soil samples in field and can be used as a first approximation to apply the analytical BTC method.


This article is published as Lee, Jaehoon, Dan B. Jaynes, and Robert Horton. "Evaluation of a simple method for estimating solute transport parameters laboratory studies." Soil Science Society of America Journal 64, no. 2 (2000): 492-498. doi: 10.2136/sssaj2000.642492x. Posted with permission.