In this work, we develop a mathematical model for transport and growth of microbes by natural (rain) water infiltration and flow through unsaturated porous soil along the vertical direction under gravity and capillarity by coupling a system of advection diffusion equations (for concentration of microbes and their growth-limiting substrate) with the Richards equation. (e model takes into consideration several major physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms. (e resulting coupled system of PDEs together with their boundary conditions is highly nonlinear and complicated to solve analytically. We present both a partial analytic approach towards solving the nonlinear system and finding the main type of dynamics of microbes, and a full-scale numerical simulation. Following the auxiliary equation method for nonlinear reaction-diffusion equations, we obtain a closed form traveling wave solution for the Richards equation. Using the propagating front solution for the pressure head, we reduce the transport equation to an ODE along the moving frame and obtain an analytic solution for the history of bacteria concentration for a specific test case. To solve the system numerically, we employ upwind finite volume method for the transport equations and stabilized explicit Runge–Kutta–Legendre super-time-stepping scheme for the Richards equation. Finally, some numerical simulation results of an infiltration experiment are presented, providing a validation and backup to the analytic partial solutions for the transport and growth of bacteria in the soil, stressing the occurrence of front moving solitons in the nonlinear dynamics.
Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Scholarly Commons Citation
Khanal, H., Ludu, A., Timsina, R. C., & Uprety, K. N. (2021). A Mathematical Model for Transport and Growth of Microbes in Unsaturated Porous Soil. Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2021(). https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6278126