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**Law and Flow
**

Philip B. Bedient

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Rice University

Darcy allows an estimate of:

the velocity or flow rate moving within the aquifer

the average time of travel from the head of the

aquifer to a point located downstream

Darcy¶s Law

Darcy¶s law provides an

accurate description of the flow

of ground water in almost all

hydrogeologic environments.

Flow in Aquifers

Darcy¶s Experiment (1856):

Flow rate determined by Head loss dh = h

1

- h

2

Darcy¶s Law

Henri Darcy established empirically that the

flux of water through a permeable formation

is proportional to the distance between top

and bottom of the soil column.

The constant of proportionality is called the

hydraulic conductivity (K).

V = Q/A, V e ± ¨h, and V e 1/¨L

Darcy¶s Law

V = ± K (¨h/¨L)

and since

Q = VA (A = total area)

Q = ± KA (dh/dL)

Hydraulic Conductivity

K represents a measure of the ability for flow

through porous media:

Gravels - 0.1 to 1 cm/sec

Sands - 10

-2

to 10

-3

cm/sec

Silts - 10

-4

to 10

-5

cm/sec

Clays - 10

-7

to 10

-9

cm/sec

Conditions

Darcy¶s Law holds for:

1. Saturated flow and unsaturated flow

2. Steady-state and transient flow

3. Flow in aquifers and aquitards

4. Flow in homogeneous and

heterogeneous systems

5. Flow in isotropic or anisotropic media

6. Flow in rocks and granular media

Darcy Velocity

V is the specific discharge (Darcy velocity).

(±) indicates that V occurs in the direction of

the decreasing head.

Specific discharge has units of velocity.

The specific discharge is a macroscopic

concept, and is easily measured. It should be

noted that Darcy¶s velocity is different «.

Darcy Velocity

...from the microscopic velocities

associated with the actual paths if

individual particles of water as they wind

their way through the grains of sand.

The microscopic velocities are real, but

are probably impossible to measure.

Darcy & Seepage Velocity

Darcy velocity is a fictitious velocity

since it assumes that flow occurs across

the entire cross-section of the soil

sample. Flow actually takes place only

through interconnected pore channels.

A = total area

A

v

voids

Darcy & Seepage Velocity

From the Continuity Eqn:

Q = A v

D

= A

V

V

s

± Where:

Q = flow rate

A = total cross-sectional area of

material

A

V

= area of voids

V

s

= seepage velocity

V

D

= Darcy velocity

Darcy & Seepage Velocity

Therefore: V

S

= V

D

( A/A

V

)

Multiplying both sides by the length of the

medium (L)

V

S

= V

D

( AL / A

V

L ) = V

D

( V

T

/ V

V

)

Where:

V

T

= total volume

V

V

= void volume

By Definition, V

v

/ V

T

= n, the soil porosity

Thus V

S

= V

D

/ n

Equations of Groundwater Flow

Description of ground water flow is based on:

Darcy¶s Law

Continuity Equation - describes

conservation of fluid mass

during flow through a porous

medium; results in a partial

differential equation of flow.

Laplace¶s Eqn - most important in math

Derivation of 3-D GW Flow

Equation from Darcy¶s Law

¯

¯x

¡V

x

´ )

¯

¯y

¡V

y

´ )

¯

¯z

¡V

z

´ )

= 0

Mass In - Mass Out = Change in Storage

V

x

+

¯

¯x

V

x

´ )

VV

x

z

y

Derivation of 3-D GW Flow

Equation from Darcy¶s Law

¯

¯x

¡K

x

¯h

¯x

'

+

'

¦

¯

¯y

¡K

y

¯h

¯y

'

+

'

¦

¯

¯z

¡K

z

¯h

¯z

'

+

'

¦

= 0

Replace V

x

, V

y

, and V

z

with Darcy using

x

,

y

, and

z

Divide out constant V, and assume K

x

= K

y

= K

z

= K

x

2

h

xx

2

x

2

h

xy

2

x

2

h

xz

2

= 0

\

2

h = 0 called Laplace Eqn.

Transient Saturated Flow

¯

¯x

K

x

xh

xx

'

+

'

¦

+

x

xy

K

y

xh

xy

'

+

'

¦

+

x

xz

K

z

xh

xz

'

+

'

¦

S

s

xh

xt

¯

¯x

¡V

x

´ )

¯

¯y

¡V

y

´ )

¯

¯z

¡V

z

´ )

=

¯

¯t

¡n

´ )

A change in h will produce change in V and n, replaced

with specific storage S

s

= Vg(E + n&). Note, E is

the compressibility of aquifer and B is comp of water,

therefore,

Solutions to GW Flow Eqns.

x

2

h

xx

2

x

2

h

xy

2

x

2

h

xz

2

= 0

\

2

h = 0 called Laplace Eqn.

Solutions for only a few simple problems can be

obtained directly - generally need to apply numerical

methods to address complex boundary conditions.

h

0

h

1

Transient Saturated Flow

¯

¯x

xh

xx

'

+

'

¦

x

xy

xh

xy

'

+

'

¦

x

xz

xh

xz

'

+

'

¦

=

S

s

K

xh

xt

Simplifying by assuming K = constant in all dimensions

And assuming that S = S

s

b, and that T = Kb yields

x

2

h

xx

2

+

x

2

h

xy

2

+

x

2

h

xz

2

!

S

s

K

xh

xt

2

h !

S

T

xh

xt

from Jacob, Theis

Steady State Flow to Well

Simplifying by assuming K = constant in all dimensions

and assuming that Transmissivity T = Kb and

Q = flow rate to well at point (x,y) yields

2

h

xx

2

x

2

h

xy

2

=

Q x, y

T

Example of Darcy¶s Law

A confined aquifer has a source of recharge.

K for the aquifer is 50 m/day, and n is 0.2.

The piezometric head in two wells 1000 m

apart is 55 m and 50 m respectively, from a

common datum.

The average thickness of the aquifer is 30

m, and the average width of aquifer is 5 km.

Compute:

a) the rate of flow through the aquifer

(b) the average time of travel from the head of the

aquifer to a point 4 km downstream

*assume no dispersion or diffusion

The solution

Cross-Sectional area=

30(5)(1000) = 15 x 10

4

m

2

Hydraulic gradient =

(55-50)/1000 = 5 x 10

-3

Rate of Flow for K = 50 m/day

Q = (50 m/day) (75 x 10

1

m

2

)

= 37,500 m

3

/day

Darcy Velocity:

V = Q/A = (37,500m

3

/day) / (15

x 10

4

m

2

) = 0.25m/day

And

Seepage Velocity:

V

s

= V/n = (0.25) / (0.2) =

1.25 m/day (about 4.1 ft/day)

Time to travel 4 km downstream:

T = 4(1000m) / (1.25m/day) =

3200 days or 8.77 years

This example shows that water moves

very slowly underground.

Limitations of the

Darcian Approach

1. For Reynold¶s Number, Re, > 10 or where the flow

is turbulent, as in the immediate vicinity of pumped

wells.

2. Where water flows through extremely fine-grained

materials (colloidal clay)

Darcy¶s Law:

Example 2

A channel runs almost parallel to a river, and they

are 2000 ft apart.

The water level in the river is at an elevation of 120

ft and 110ft in the channel.

A pervious formation averaging 30 ft thick and with

K of 0.25 ft/hr joins them.

Determine the rate of seepage or flow from the

river to the channel.

Confined Aquifer

Confining ayer

Aquifer

30 ft

Example 2

Consider a 1-ft length of river (and channel).

Q = KA [(h

1

± h

2

) / L]

Where:

A = (30 x 1) = 30 ft

2

K = (0.25 ft/hr) (24 hr/day) = 6 ft/day

Therefore,

Q = [6 (30) (120 ± 110)] / 2000

= 0.9 ft

3

/day/ft length = 0.9 ft

2

/day

Permeameters

Constant Head Falling Head

Constant head Permeameter

Apply Darcy¶s Law to find K:

V/t = Q = KA(h/L)

or:

K = (VL) / (Ath)

Where:

V = volume flowing in time t

A = cross-sectional area of the sample

L = length of sample

h = constant head

t = time of flow

**Darcy allows an estimate of:
**

the velocity or flow rate moving within the aquifer the average time of travel from the head of the aquifer to a point located downstream

Darcy¶s Law

Darcy¶s law provides an accurate description of the flow of ground water in almost all hydrogeologic environments.

Flow in Aquifers .

h2 .Darcy¶s Experiment (1856): Flow rate determined by Head loss dh = h1 .

V = Q/A. V E ± ¨h. The constant of proportionality is called the hydraulic conductivity (K). and V E 1/¨L .Darcy¶s Law Henri Darcy established empirically that the flux of water through a permeable formation is proportional to the distance between top and bottom of the soil column.

Darcy¶s Law V = ± K (¨h/¨L) and since Q = VA (A = total area) Q = ± KA (dh/dL) .

Hydraulic Conductivity K represents a measure of the ability for flow through porous media: Gravels Sands Silts Clays 0.1 to 1 cm/sec 10-2 to 10-3 cm/sec 10-4 to 10-5 cm/sec 10-7 to 10-9 cm/sec .

Flow in rocks and granular media . 2. Flow in isotropic or anisotropic media 6.Conditions Darcy¶s Law holds for: 1. 3. 4. Saturated flow and unsaturated flow Steady-state and transient flow Flow in aquifers and aquitards Flow in homogeneous and heterogeneous systems 5.

The specific discharge is a macroscopic concept. and is easily measured. It should be noted that Darcy¶s velocity is different «. (±) indicates that V occurs in the direction of the decreasing head. .Darcy Velocity V is the specific discharge ( Darcy velocity). Specific discharge has units of velocity.

The microscopic velocities are real..from the microscopic velocities associated with the actual paths if individual particles of water as they wind their way through the grains of sand.Darcy Velocity .. . but are probably impossible to measure.

Darcy & Seepage Velocity Darcy velocity is a fictitious velocity since it assumes that flow occurs across the entire cross-section of the soil sample. Av voids A = total area . Flow actually takes place only through interconnected pore channels.

Darcy & Seepage Velocity From the Continuity Eqn: Q = A vD = AV Vs ± Where: Q = flow rate A = total cross-sectional area of material AV = area of voids Vs = seepage velocity VD = Darcy velocity .

Darcy & Seepage Velocity Therefore: VS = VD ( A/AV) Multiplying both sides by the length of the medium (L) VS = VD ( AL / AVL ) = VD ( VT / VV ) Where: VT = total volume VV = void volume By Definition. the soil porosity Thus VS = VD / n . Vv / VT = n.

describes conservation of fluid mass during flow through a porous medium.Equations of Groundwater Flow Description of ground water flow is based on: Darcy¶s Law Continuity Equation . Laplace¶s Eqn . results in a partial differential equation of flow.most important in math .

Derivation of 3-D GW Flow Equation from Darcy¶s Law z VV x y x Vx xx .

Mass Out = Change in Storage x x x . Vx Mass In .

VV x .

VV y .

VV z ! 0 xx xy xz .

y. and assume Kx= Ky= Kz = K x 2h x 2h x 2h !0 2 2 2 xx xy xz 2 h ! 0 called Laplace Eqn. and z x ¨ x h ¸ x ¨ x h ¸ x ¨ x h ¸ ©V K x ¹ ©V K z ¹ ! 0 ©V K y ¹ x x ª x x º x y ª x y º x z ª x z º Divide out constant V. . Vy.Derivation of 3-D GW Flow Equation from Darcy¶s Law Replace Vx. and Vz with Darcy using x.

Transient Saturated Flow x x x x .

VV x .

VV y .

VV z ! .

Vn xx xy xz xt A change in h will produce change in V and n. replaced with specific storage Ss = Vg(E + n&). therefore. E is the compressibility of aquifer and B is comp of water. Note. x ¨ x h ¸ x ¨ x h ¸ x ¨ x h ¸ xh ©K x ¹ ©K z ¹ S s ©K y ¹ x x ª x x º x y ª x y º x z ª x z º xt .

Solutions for only a few simple problems can be obtained directly .generally need to apply numerical methods to address complex boundary conditions.Solutions to GW Flow Eqns. h0 h1 2 2 2 . x h x h x h !0 2 2 2 xx xy xz 2 h ! 0 called Laplace Eqn.

Transient Saturated Flow Simplifying by assuming K = constant in all dimensions And assuming that S = Ssb. Theis T xt . and that T = Kb yields x ¨x h ¸ x ¨x h ¸ x ¨x h ¸ S s x h © ¹ © ¹ ! © ¹ x x ªx x º x y ªx y º x z ªx z º K x t x 2 h x 2 h x 2 h S s xh 2 ! 2 2 xx xy xz K xt S xh 2 h! from Jacob.

y) yields Q .Steady State Flow to Well Simplifying by assuming K = constant in all dimensions and assuming that Transmissivity T = Kb and Q = flow rate to well at point (x.

y h x h ! 2 2 T xy xx 2 2 .x.

The average thickness of the aquifer is 30 m.2.Example of Darcy¶s Law A confined aquifer has a source of recharge. The piezometric head in two wells 1000 m apart is 55 m and 50 m respectively. K for the aquifer is 50 m/day. from a common datum. and n is 0. . and the average width of aquifer is 5 km.

Compute: a) the rate of flow through the aquifer (b) the average time of travel from the head of the aquifer to a point 4 km downstream *assume no dispersion or diffusion .

25m/day .The solution Cross-Sectional area= 30(5)(1000) = 15 x 104 m2 Hydraulic gradient = (55-50)/1000 = 5 x 10-3 Rate of Flow for K = 50 m/day Q = (50 m/day) (75 x 101 m2) = 37.500m3/day) / (15 x 104 m2) = 0.500 m3/day Darcy Velocity: V = Q/A = (37.

25) / (0.25 m/day (about 4.And Seepage Velocity: Vs = V/n = (0. .1 ft/day) Time to travel 4 km downstream: T = 4(1000m) / (1.25m/day) = 3200 days or 8.77 years This example shows that water moves very slowly underground.2) = 1.

2.Limitations of the Darcian Approach 1. as in the immediate vicinity of pumped wells. Re. For Reynold¶s Number. Where water flows through extremely fine-grained materials (colloidal clay) . > 10 or where the flow is turbulent.

25 ft/hr joins them.Darcy¶s Law: Example 2 A channel runs almost parallel to a river. and they are 2000 ft apart. A pervious formation averaging 30 ft thick and with K of 0. The water level in the river is at an elevation of 120 ft and 110ft in the channel. Determine the rate of seepage or flow from the river to the channel. .

Confined Aquifer Confining ayer Aquifer 30 ft .

25 ft/hr) (24 hr/day) = 6 ft/day Therefore.9 ft3/day/ft length = .9 ft2/day = 0. Q = [6 (30) (120 ± 110)] / 2000 0.Example 2 Consider a 1-ft length of river (and channel). Q = KA [(h1 ± h2) / L] Where: A = (30 x 1) = 30 ft2 K = (0.

Permeameters Constant Head Falling Head .

Constant head Permeameter Apply Darcy¶s Law to find K: V/t = Q = KA(h/L) or: K = (VL) / (Ath) Where: V = volume flowing in time t A = cross-sectional area of the sample L = length of sample h = constant head t = time of flow .

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