UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Anger, Cale T. ; Alexander Jr. E. Calvin
Bench-scale models of dye breakthrough curves
Carbonates Evaporites

Fluorescent dye tracer breakthrough curves (TBCs) obtained from quantitative traces in karst flow systems record multiple processes, including advection, dispersion, diffusion, mixing, adsorption, and chemical reaction. In this study, TBCs were recorded from small, bench-scale physical models in an attempt to isolate, understand, and quantify some of these processes under full-pipe flow conditions. Dye traces were conducted through a suite of geometries constructed out of Pyrex glass. These geometries consisted of (1) linear conduits, of varying length and diameter, (2) single and dual mixing chambers, and (3) a single chamber with an immobile region. Each glass system was connected to a constant flow apparatus. Dye was then injected with a syringe, allowed to flow through the system, and be naturally or artificially mixed in the process. Solute breakthrough was recorded in a scanning spectrofluorophotometer and the resulting TBC was analyzed. Independent variables examined in each of the three settings were discharge (Q) and dye concentration (Co). Artificial mixing rates (RM), induced by magnetic stirrers in settings (2) and (3), were also considered. Initial runs varied Q from 0.75 to 1.25 mL/s, with constant RM ranging from 0 to 360 revolutions per minute (rpm). Preliminary data yield realistic-looking breakthrough curves with steeply rising leading edges, a peak, and an asymmetric, exponential tail. Analysis of laboratory variables with respect to hydraulic parameters extracted from each TBC suggests that discharge and mixing rate alone can differentiate conduit complexity at the laboratory scale.


Tracer breakthrough curves, Dye tracing, Karst, Hydrogeology, Laboratory-scale models
Anger, Cale T. ; Alexander Jr. E. Calvin , 2013, Bench-scale models of dye breakthrough curves , Carbonates and Evaporites , 28 , 221 - 227 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13146-012-0092-7, PDF