Hybrid multiscale simulation of a mixing-controlled reaction

Timothy D. Scheibe, Karen Schuchardt, Khushbu Agarwal, Jared Chase, Xiaofan Yang, Bruce J. Palmer, Alexandre M. Tartakovsky, Todd Elsethagen, George Redden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuum-scale models, which employ a porous medium conceptualization to represent properties and processes averaged over a large number of solid grains and pore spaces, are widely used to study subsurface flow and reactive transport. Recently, pore-scale models, which explicitly resolve individual soil grains and pores, have been developed to more accurately model and study pore-scale phenomena, such as mineral precipitation and dissolution reactions, microbially-mediated surface reactions, and other complex processes. However, these highly-resolved models are prohibitively expensive for modeling domains of sizes relevant to practical problems. To broaden the utility of pore-scale models for larger domains, we developed a hybrid multiscale model that initially simulates the full domain at the continuum scale and applies a pore-scale model only to areas of high reactivity. Since the location and number of pore-scale model regions in the model varies as the reactions proceed, an adaptive script defines the number and location of pore regions within each continuum iteration and initializes pore-scale simulations from macroscale information. Another script communicates information from the pore-scale simulation results back to the continuum scale. These components provide loose coupling between the pore- and continuum-scale codes into a single hybrid multiscale model implemented within the SWIFT workflow environment. In this paper, we consider an irreversible homogeneous bimolecular reaction (two solutes reacting to form a third solute) in a 2D test problem. This paper is focused on the approach used for multiscale coupling between pore- and continuum-scale models, application to a realistic test problem, and implications of the results for predictive simulation of mixing-controlled reactions in porous media. Our results and analysis demonstrate that the hybrid multiscale method provides a feasible approach for increasing the accuracy of subsurface reactive transport simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-239
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational methods
  • Hybrid multiscale
  • Mixing-controlled reaction
  • Pore-scale modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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