Derivation of a macroscopic model for transport of strongly sorbed solutes in the soil using homogenization theory

Mariya Ptashnyk, Tiina Roose

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    In this paper we derive a model for the diffusion of strongly sorbed solutes in soil taking into account diffusion within both the soil fluid phase and the soil particles. The model takes into account the effect of solutes being bound to soil particle surfaces by a reversible nonlinear reaction. Effective macroscale equations for the solute movement in the soil are derived using homogenization theory. In particular, we use the unfolding method to prove the convergence of nonlinear reaction terms in our system. We use the final, homogenized model to estimate the effect of solute dynamics within soil particles on plant phosphate uptake by comparing our double-porosity model to the more commonly used single-porosity model. We find that there are significant qualitative and quantitative differences in the predictions of the models. This highlights the need for careful experimental and theoretical treatment of plant-soil interaction when trying to understand solute losses from the soil.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2097-2118
    Number of pages22
    JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • homogenization
    • reaction-diffusion systems
    • reactive flows
    • unfolding method
    • double porosity
    • strongly sorbed solutes

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