On the computation of Darcian velocity and mass balance in the finite element modeling of groundwater flow

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Abstract

Darcian velocity has been conventionally calculated in the finite element modeling of groundwater flow by taking the derivatives of the computed pressure field. This results in discontinuities in the velocity field at nodal points and element boundaries. Discontinuities become enormous when the computed pressure field is far from a linear distribution. It is proposed in this paper that the finite element procedure that is used to simulate the pressure field or the moisture content field also be applied to Darcy's law with the derivatives of the computed pressure field as the load function. The problem of discontinuity is then eliminated, and the error of mass balance over the region of interest is much reduced. The reduction is from 23.8% to 2.2% by one numerical scheme and from 29.7% to –3.6% by another for a transient problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1529-1534
Number of pages6
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1981

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