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Open AccessArticle

Viscosity Controls Rapid Infiltration and Drainage, Not the Macropores

Faculty of Science, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Water 2020, 12(2), 337;
Received: 12 November 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 20 January 2020 / Published: 24 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical and Mathematical Fluid Mechanics)
The paper argues that universal approaches to infiltration and drainage in permeable media pivoting around capillarity and leading to dual porosity, non-equilibrium, or preferential flow need to be replaced by a dual process approach. One process has to account for relatively fast infiltration and drainage based on Newton’s viscous shear flow, while the other one draws from capillarity and is responsible for storage and relatively slow redistribution of soil water. Already in the second half of the 19th Century were two separate processes postulated, however, Buckingham’s and Richards’ apparent universal capillarity-based approaches to the flow and storage of water in soils dominated. The paper introduces the basics of Newton’s shear flow in permeable media. It then presents experimental applications, and explores the relationships of Newton’s shear flow with Darcy’s law, Forchheimer’s and Richards’ equations, and finally extends to the transport of solutes and particles. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetting shock fronts; shear flow; viscosity; capillarity; kinematic waves wetting shock fronts; shear flow; viscosity; capillarity; kinematic waves
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Germann, P. Viscosity Controls Rapid Infiltration and Drainage, Not the Macropores. Water 2020, 12, 337.

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