Mechanical dispersion


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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

Mechanical dispersion causes spreading of solute and hence dilution of concentrations. It arises from the tortuosity of the pore channels in a granular aquifer and of the fractures in a consolidated aquifer and the different speeds of groundwater within flow channels of varying width. It affects all solutes (WHO 2006).

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

Solute spreading is due to mechanical dispersion that can arise at the pore-scale due to (Fetter, 1999): Fluids moving faster at pore centres due to less friction;Larger pores allowing faster fluid movement;Routes of varying tortuosity around grains. At a larger scale, macrodispersion is controlled by the distribution of hydraulic conductivities in the geologic domain;Greater geological heterogeneity resulting in greater plume spreading (WHO 2006).


WHO (2006) Protecting groundwater for health.


WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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