Many subsurface flow and transport problems of importance today involve coupled non-linear flow, transport, and reaction in media exhibiting complex heterogeneity. In particular, problems involving biological mediation of reactions fall into this class of problems. Recent experimental research has revealed important details about the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms involved in these processes at a variety of scales ranging from molecular to laboratory scales. However, it has not been practical or possible to translate detailed knowledge at small scales into reliable predictions of field-scale phenomena important for environmental management applications. A large assortment of numerical simulation tools have been developed, each with its own characteristic scale. Important examples include 1. molecular simulations (e.g., molecular dynamics); 2. simulation of microbial processes at the cell level (e.g., cellular automata or particle individual-based models); 3. pore-scale simulations (e.g., lattice-Boltzmann, pore network models, and discrete particle methods such as smoothed particle hydrodynamics); and 4. macroscopic continuum-scale simulations (e.g., traditional partial differential equations solved by finite difference or finite element methods). While many problems can be effectively addressed by one of these models at a single scale, some problems may require explicit integration of models across multiple scales. We are developing a hybrid multi-scale subsurface reactive transport modeling framework that integrates models with diverse representations of physics, chemistry and biology at different scales (sub-pore, pore and continuum). The modeling framework is being designed to take advantage of advanced computational technologies including parallel code components using the Common Component Architecture, parallel solvers, gridding, data and workflow management, and visualization. This paper describes the specific methods/codes being used at each scale, techniques used to directly and adaptively couple across model scales, and preliminary results of application to a multi-scale model of mineral precipitation at a solute mixing interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)