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Experimental and numerical study of hydrodynamic oscillations in partially saturated porous media

Wang, Yunli. Experimental and numerical study of hydrodynamic oscillations in partially saturated porous media. PhD, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2010

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Official URL: http://ethesis.inp-toulouse.fr/archive/00001484/


This thesis aims at investigating experimentally, analytically and numerically, the consequences of hydrodynamic variations and oscillations with high temporal variability in partially saturated porous media. The problems investigated in this work involve “free surfaces” both outside and inside the porous media, the free surface being defined as the “atmospheric” water pressure isosurface (Pwater = Patm). The laboratory experiments studied in this work are, respectively: Lateral imbibition in a dry sand box with significant capillary effects; Transmission of oscillations of the free surface through a vertical sand box placed in a small wave canal (IMFT, Toulouse); Dynamics of free surface oscillations and wave propagation in a large wave canal (HYDRALAB, Barcelona), partially covered with sand, with measurements of both open water and groundwater levels, and of sand topography (erosion / deposition). For theoretical studies, we have developed linearized analytical solutions. Here is a sample problem that was treated analytically in this work: The linearized equation of Dupuit-Boussinesq (DB) for transient free surface flow, assuming horizontal flow and instantaneous wetting/drainage of the unsaturated zone: forced oscillations, wave transmission and dissipation through a rectangular sandbox. We also developed a weakly nonlinear solution of the Dupuit-Boussinesq equation to study the sudden imbibition (temporal monitoring of the wetting front). We have studied the different types of transient flow problems related to the experiments cited above by numerical simulation. In particular, we have simulated unsaturated or partially saturated transient flows in vertical cross-section, using a computer code (BIGFLOW 3D) which solves a generalized version of Richards’ equation. Thus, using the Richards / BIGFLOW 3D model, we have studied numerically the experiment of unsaturated imbibition in a dry sand (IMFT sandbox), and then, with the same model, we have also studied the partially saturated wave propagation experiment in the large Barcelona wave canal (HYDRALAB laboratory), focusing on the sloping sandy beach, with coupling between the micro-porous zone (sand) and the “macro-porous” zone (open water). To interpret the results of the latter experiment and compare them to simulations, we use several methods of signal analyzis and signal processing, such as: Fourier analysis, discrete multi-resolution wavelets (Daubechies), auto and cross-correlation functions. These methods are combined with pre-filtering methods to estimate trends and residuals (moving averages; discrete wavelet analyses). This signal analyzis has allowed us to interpret and quantify water propagation phenomena through a sandy beach. To sum up, different modeling approaches, combined with model calibration procedures, were applied to transient nonlinear coupled flow problems. These approaches have allowed us to reproduce globally the water content distributions and water level propagation in the different configurations studied in this work.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Ababou, Rachid and Marcoux, Manuel
Deposited On:21 Nov 2012 12:36

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