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The rotating movement of three immiscible fluids—a benchmark problem

Journal of Hydrology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2003.10.007
  • Variable Density Flow
  • Interface Flow
  • Benchmark Problem
  • Exact Solution


Abstract A benchmark problem involving the rotating movement of three immiscible fluids is proposed for verifying the density-dependent flow component of groundwater flow codes. The problem consists of a two-dimensional strip in the vertical plane filled with three fluids of different densities separated by interfaces. Initially, the interfaces between the fluids make a 45° angle with the horizontal. Over time, the fluids rotate to the stable position whereby the interfaces are horizontal; all flow is caused by density differences. Two cases of the problem are presented, one resulting in a symmetric flow field and one resulting in an asymmetric flow field. An exact analytical solution for the initial flow field is presented by application of the vortex theory and complex variables. Numerical results are obtained using three variable-density groundwater flow codes (SWI, MOCDENS3D, and SEAWAT). Initial horizontal velocities of the interfaces, as simulated by the three codes, compare well with the exact solution. The three codes are used to simulate the positions of the interfaces at two times; the three codes produce nearly identical results. The agreement between the results is evidence that the specific rotational behavior predicted by the models is correct. It also shows that the proposed problem may be used to benchmark variable-density codes. It is concluded that the three models can be used to model accurately the movement of interfaces between immiscible fluids, and have little or no numerical dispersion.

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