Modeling evaporation processes in a saline soil from saturation to oven dry conditions
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Thermal, suction and osmotic gradients interact during evaporation from a salty soil. Vapor fluxes become the main water flow mechanism under very dry conditions. A coupled nonisothermal multiphase flow and a reactive transport model of a salty sand soil was developed to study such an intricate system. The model was calibrated with data from an evaporation experiment (volumetric water content, temperature and concentration). The retention curve and relative permeability functions were modified to simulate oven dry conditions. Experimental observations were satisfactorily reproduced, which suggests that the model can be used to assess the underlying processes. Results show that evaporation is controlled by heat, and limited by salinity and liquid and vapor fluxes. Below evaporation front vapor flows downwards controlled by temperature gradient and thus generates a dilution. Vapor diffusion and dilution are strongly influenced by heat boundary conditions. Gas diffusion plays a major role in the magnitude of vapor fluxes.
CitationGran Esforzado, M. [et al.]. Modeling evaporation processes in a saline soil from saturation to oven dry conditions. "Hydrology and Earth system sciences discussions", 2011, vol. 8, núm. 1, p. 529-554.