Influence of Pore Distribution Characteristics on Relative Hydraulic Conductivity in Soil Covers—A Pore-Scale Numerical Investigation
Relative hydraulic conductivity is an important input parameter for water balance models, which are commonly used to evaluate the performance of soil covers. In this paper, pore-network modeling was utilized to analyze the influence of pore distribution characteristics on relative hydraulic conductivity at various water saturations in soils. A drainage process of water slowly invaded by air was simulated to assign various saturations in pore networks. The pore networks have 30 × 30 × 30 pores, with log-normally distributed pore diameters in different mean values and standard deviations. Numerical results indicated that the increase in standard deviation and the decrease in the mean value of the pore diameters lead to a decrease in saturated hydraulic conductivity. Larger standard deviation or lower mean value of the pore diameters can result in more evident right-skewed pore diameter distribution. This provides more throats for water to flow at a given saturation, and thus a larger relative hydraulic conductivity in the pore network.
KeywordsPore network modeling Pore distribution characteristics Drainage simulation Relative hydraulic conductivity
The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (No. 51625805) and program of China Scholarships Council (No. 201706320096).
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