DNAPL flow and complex electrical resistivity evolution in saturated porous media: A coupled numerical simulation

Behshad Koohbor, Jacques Deparis, Philippe Leroy, Behzad Ataie-Ashtiani, Hossein Davarzani, Stéfan Colombano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Induced Polarization (IP) is a non-intrusive geophysical method to monitor Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL) contamination and remediation processes underground. In this study, an advanced numerical code simulating DNAPL flow and complex electrical resistivity is presented. The model was validated against existing IP results and image measurements that were carried out previously in a series of 2D tank experiment. Multiphase flow modeling in porous media is coupled with electrical current modeling to simulate the process of DNAPL migration and the associated IP response. This brings a broader view of the contamination in space and time compared to surface and borehole measurements, especially when the results are supported by field measurements or laboratory experiments. The simulations are developed in 3D and are performed in COMSOL Multiphysics®. The simulations using petrophysical relationships for in-phase and quadrature resistivity and the results of the experiments are in complete accordance with each other in the parts of the tank where the saturation of DNAPL is relatively low (i.e. especially in the cone of depression in the pumping scenario). However, the parts associated with high saturation of DNAPL show high errors between the in-phase resistivity simulations and the results from experiments. The present work can be regarded as a preliminary study toward further applications of coupled IP-multiphase flow for more accurate detection and monitoring of DNAPLs. It is suggested that the choice of tool/approach in this study be extended to larger-scale studies for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104003
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Early online date26 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • COMSOL Multiphysics®
  • Dense non-aqueous phase liquid
  • Induced polarization
  • Two-phase flow in porous media


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