Postgraduate Course: Computational Simulation of Hydrogeological Systems (PGGE11283)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course deals with developing and programming numerical models to simulate hydrogeological systems. The principles of numerical model development will be explored along with the fundamental processes governing heat and mass transport in the subsurface environment with a specific focus on applications for geothermal systems and reactive transport of hazardous industrial contaminants. Students will develop and program their own numerical model to better understand these concepts, their application and the underlying mathematics.
Numerical models are now vital tools in hydrogeology as many applications require the incorporation of complex geology and numerous interconnected environmental processes. For instance, geothermal energy installations, remediation schemes for sites contaminated with hazardous wastes, as well as groundwater abstractions for drinking, agriculture and industrial usages all require the use of numerical models for successful implementation and to minimize negative environmental impacts. While commercial hydrogeological software packages are now available, an understanding of both their development and the governing processes they describe are required to properly utilize and, if necessary, modify. This course will cover all the steps of model development from conceptualization, through to implementation with programming languages, and finally model validation and calibration. Model development will be taught in the context of heat and mass transport processes in hydrogeological systems, specifically with geothermal systems and reactive transport at sites contaminated with hazardous chemicals. The course will cover fundamental heat and mass transport processes such as conduction and convection, advection and dispersion, reaction kinetics, sorption isotherms, as well as the mathematics required to program these processes using finite difference numerical techniques. During this process, students will learn how to critically assess numerical modelling reports to identify their underlying assumptions, limitations, and sources of inaccuracies.
The course lectures develop the students knowledge base with advancing concepts that are supported by practical programming, numerical modelling, and report writing and critical evaluation. This is aimed at developing technical, interpretation and reporting skills and encourage critical thinking. The concepts developed in the taught programme are reinforced with a project wherein students are given a specific hydrogeological scenario that they must develop, program, and implement their own numerical model to simulate and write a professional modelling report on.
Proposed course outline:
Unit 1: Introduction to Numerical Modelling
Overview of the modelling process
Different types of models
Usefulness and limitations of numerical models.
Introduction to programming concepts and good coding practices to be used throughout the course
Unit 2: 'Lumped box' models
How to use a mass balance approach to construct a governing differential equation
How to solve a first-order ordinary differential equation (ODE) with a finite difference approach
Euler vs. Runge-Kutta approaches to finite difference
Estimating error and instabilities in numerical methods
Unit 3: Modelling Advection/Convection and Dispersion/Conduction
What are advection and dispersion/diffusion
What are convection and conduction
Deriving the governing equations
1D finite difference solution techniques
Implicit vs explicit methods
Unit 4: Modelling Advection+Dispersion
Choosing the appropriate form of governing equation with dimensionless numbers
2D finite difference solution techniques
Corner boundary conditions
Transient vs steady-state solutions
Unit 5: Contaminant Transport
Types and sources of contaminants
Sorption isotherms and retardation coefficients
Colloids and filtration
Incorporation into ADE
Unit 6: Groundwater flow
Deriving the groundwater flow equation
2D finite difference techniques
Unit 7: Model calibration and verification/validation
Statistical measures for goodness to fit
What is a good fit?
How do you verify and validate?
What is a sensitivity study?
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
This course will have a single assessment : Students will develop their own finite difference numerical model of a hydrogeological scenario chosen for them and write a professional report on its conception, development, validation and calibration, and discussion of results. It will be instructor reviewed and marked. This assessment builds on the topics covered in each week of class and learning outcomes 1-4 with the model development and report being outcome 5. This assessment will be given at the start of the semester and each tutorial/practical will be focused on assisting the students in developing the portion of the model that was covered in that week's lectures.
||During the course, feedback on the course project will be ongoing as a component of the project is associated with each tutorial and practical session. This provides students with ongoing opportunities to consolidate their learning and provide continuous in-class feedback and the provision of in-class support to provide clarification if required.
In addition, mid-semester students will submit what they have completed to-date on the project for formal feedback.
Informal class discussions will be included within the course, teaching allowing both the exchange of ideas, and feedback on knowledge levels and on the presentation ideas.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the modelling process and how it applies to hydrogeological systems
- Recognise the processes governing heat and mass transport in groundwater and their implementations in finite difference codes
- Assess which governing equations and numerical techniques are needed in a model
- Critically evaluate models and their outputs
- Develop their own numerical model from conception to calibration and validation and communicate its outputs in a professional modelling report
|Freeze, R .A. and J.A. Cherry (1979): Groundwater.- Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs|
Fetter, C.W. (2001): Applied Hydrogeology.- Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs
Fetter, C.W. (1993): Contaminant Hydrogeology. - Macmillan Publishing Company, New York; S. 458
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course will equip our graduates with a wide range of skills including;
A good level of mathematical, analytical and modelling skills, using both industry standard and academic software packages.
Problem solving and practical hands on skills.
Capacity to evaluate complex data and to extrapolate conclusions from incomplete data.
Critical and reflective thinkers, some subsurface technologies are controversial, all require expert knowledge to assess independently.
Organised with good project management skills and a flexible approach to work.
Skilled communicators, both oral and written
Ability to work well within a team
|Keywords||Hydrogeology,numerical modelling,finite difference,contaminant transport
|Course organiser||Dr Ian Molnar
|Course secretary||Mrs Lauren Blackman
Tel: (0131 6)50 2624