Two-scale computational modelling of water flow in unsaturated soils containing irregular-shaped inclusions. (English) Zbl 1352.76110

Summary: The focus of this paper is two-dimensional computational modelling of water flow in unsaturated soils consisting of weakly conductive disconnected inclusions embedded in a highly conductive connected matrix. When the inclusions are small, a two-scale Richards’ equation-based model has been proposed in the literature taking the form of an equation with effective parameters governing the macroscopic flow coupled with a microscopic equation, defined at each point in the macroscopic domain, governing the flow in the inclusions. This paper is devoted to a number of advances in the numerical implementation of this model. Namely, by treating the micro-scale as a two-dimensional problem, our solution approach based on a control volume finite element method can be applied to irregular inclusion geometries, and, if necessary, modified to account for additional phenomena (e.g. imposing the macroscopic gradient on the micro-scale via a linear approximation of the macroscopic variable along the microscopic boundary). This is achieved with the help of an exponential integrator for advancing the solution in time. This time integration method completely avoids generation of the Jacobian matrix of the system and hence eases the computation when solving the two-scale model in a completely coupled manner. Numerical simulations are presented for a two-dimensional infiltration problem.


76S05 Flows in porous media; filtration; seepage
65M60 Finite element, Rayleigh-Ritz and Galerkin methods for initial value and initial-boundary value problems involving PDEs
74L10 Soil and rock mechanics


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