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Groundwater Flow Modeling in Karst Aquifers: Coupling 3D Matrix and 1D Conduit Flow via Control Volume Isogeometric Analysis—Experimental Verification with a 3D Physical Model

1
Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
2
Computer Science and Mathematics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1787; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121787
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydraulics)
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Abstract

A novel numerical model for groundwater flow in karst aquifers is presented. A discrete-continuum (hybrid) approach, in which a three-dimensional matrix flow is coupled with a one-dimensional conduit flow, was used. The laminar flow in the karst matrix is described by a variably saturated flow equation to account for important hydrodynamic effects in both the saturated and unsaturated zones. Turbulent conduit flow for both free surface and pressurized flow conditions was captured via the noninertia wave equation, whereas the coupling of two flow domains was established through an exchange term proportional to head differences. The novel numerical approach based on Fup basis functions and control-volume formulation enabled us to obtain smooth and locally conservative numerical solutions. Due to its similarity to the isogeometric analysis concept (IGA), we labeled it as control-volume isogeometric analysis (CV-IGA). Since realistic verification of the karst flow models is an extremely difficult task, the particular contribution of this work is the construction of a specially designed 3D physical model ( dimensions: 5.66 × 2.95 × 2.00 m) in order to verify the developed numerical model under controlled laboratory conditions. Heterogeneous porous material was used to simulate the karst matrix, and perforated pipes were used as karst conduits. The model was able to capture many flow characteristics, such as the interaction between the matrix and conduit, rainfall infiltration through the unsaturated zone, direct recharge through sinkholes, and both free surface and pressurized flow in conduits. Two different flow experiments are presented, and comparison with numerical results confirmed the validity of the developed karst flow model under complex laboratory conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: karst flow; control-volume isogeometric analysis; matrix–conduit exchange; verification of karst flow models; physical karst flow model karst flow; control-volume isogeometric analysis; matrix–conduit exchange; verification of karst flow models; physical karst flow model
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Malenica, L.; Gotovac, H.; Kamber, G.; Simunovic, S.; Allu, S.; Divic, V. Groundwater Flow Modeling in Karst Aquifers: Coupling 3D Matrix and 1D Conduit Flow via Control Volume Isogeometric Analysis—Experimental Verification with a 3D Physical Model. Water 2018, 10, 1787.

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