diffusion Fractional Calculus Porous Media Two-Phase Flow

Modeling Infiltration by Means of a Nonlinear Fractional Diffusion Model

E. Gerolymatou, I. Vardoulakis, R. Hilfer

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 39, 4104 (2006)

submitted on
Thursday, May 18, 2006

The classical Richards equation describes infiltration into porous soil as a nonlinear diffusion process. Recent experiments have suggested that this process exhibits anomalous scaling behaviour. These observations suggest generalizing the classical Richards equation by introducing fractional time derivatives. The resulting fractional Richards equation with appropriate initial and boundary values is solved numerically in this paper. The numerical code is tested against analytical solutions in the linear case. Saturation profiles are calculated for the fully nonlinear fractional Richards equation. Isochrones and isosaturation curves are given. The cumulative moisture intake is found as a function of the order of the fractional derivative. These results are compared against experiment.

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