This benchmark for three-dimensional (3D) numerical simulators of variable-density groundwater flow and solute or energy transport consists of matching simulation results with the semi-analytical solution for the transition from one steady-state convective mode to another in a porous box. Previous experimental and analytical studies of natural convective flow in an inclined porous layer have shown that there are a variety of convective modes possible depending on system parameters, geometry and inclination. In particular, there is a well-defined transition from the helicoidal mode consisting of downslope longitudinal rolls superimposed upon an upslope unicellular roll to a mode consisting of purely an upslope unicellular roll. Three-dimensional benchmarks for variable-density simulators are currently (2009) lacking and comparison of simulation results with this transition locus provides an unambiguous means to test the ability of such simulators to represent steady-state unstable 3D variable-density physics.
- Analytical solutions
- Groundwater density/viscosity
- Numerical modeling
- Variable-density groundwater