The capillary fringe is the part of the subsurface directly above the water table where both water and air is abundant. The hypothesis of the DFG Research group 831 „Dynamic Capillary Fringes“ (end in 2014) was that microorganisms strive in this region as the carbon source is disolved in the water phase while oxygen is mostly provided in the air phase. In his thesis Pavel Hron developed a mathematical model that is able to describe all relevant processes including immiscible flow of air and water, transport and phase exchange of disolved components and their consumption, growth of microorganisms as well as their attachment and detachment to and from the porous matrix. Parameters of the model have been derived through inverse modelling of a large number of experiments carried out by our collaborators at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The image shows the concentration of the microorganisms and the flow of water in a Hele-Shaw cell.
Name and contact of project responsible(s):
Involved scientists and partners
Y. Yang (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. O. Ippisch (Technical University of Clausthal)
Dr. D. Jost (KIT, Karlsruhe)
Prof. Dr. J. Winter (KIT, Karlsruhe)
Prof. Dr. C. Gallert (KIT, Karlsruhe)