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Water Resources Research



In an effort to develop methods based on integrating the subsurface to the atmospheric boundary layer to estimate evaporation, we developed a model based on the coupling of Navier-Stokes free flow and Darcy flow in porous medium. The model was tested using experimental data to study the effect of wind speed on evaporation. The model consists of the coupled equations of mass conservation for two-phase flow in porous medium with single-phase flow in the free-flow domain under nonisothermal, nonequilibrium phase change conditions. In this model, the evaporation rate and soil surface temperature and relative humidity at the interface come directly from the integrated model output. To experimentally validate numerical results, we developed a unique test system consisting of a wind tunnel interfaced with a soil tank instrumented with a network of sensors to measure soil-water variables. Results demonstrated that, by using this coupling approach, it is possible to predict the different stages of the drying process with good accuracy. Increasing the wind speed increases the first stage evaporation rate and decreases the transition time between two evaporative stages (soil water flow to vapor diffusion controlled) at low velocity values; then, at high wind speeds the evaporation rate becomes less dependent on the wind speed. On the contrary, the impact of wind speed on second stage evaporation (diffusion-dominant stage) is not significant. We found that the thermal and solute dispersion in free-flow systems has a significant influence on drying processes from porous media and should be taken into account.


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering

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