Boundary Integral Methods for Unsaturated Flow

by M. J. Martinez, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,
D. F. McTigue, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


A boundary integral equation method (BIEM) is described for numerical analysis of quasilinear steady unsaturated flow in homogeneous material. The applicability of the exponential model for the dependence of hydraulic conductivity on pressure head is discussed briefly. This constitutive assumption is at the heart of the quasi-linear transformation. Materials which display a wide distribution in pore-size are described reasonably well by the exponential. For materials with a narrow range in pore-size, the exponential is suitable over more limited ranges in pressure head. The numerical implementation of the BIEM is used to investigate the infiltration from a strip source to a water table. The net infiltration of moisture into a finite-depth layer is well-described by results for a semi-infinite layer if αD > 4, where α is the sorptive number and D is the depth to the water table. The distribution of moisture exhibits a similar dependence on αD.

Subject Headings: Pore size distribution | Domain boundary | Integrals | Boundary element method | Unsaturated flow | Hydraulic models | Head (fluid mechanics) | Infiltration | Nevada | United States

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