Solution of the nonlinear transport equation using modified Picard iteration Academic Article uri icon


  • The transport and fate of reactive chemicals in groundwater is governed by equations which are often difficult to solve due to the nonlinear relationship between the solute concentrations for the liquid and solid phases. The nonlinearity may cause mass balance errors during the numerical simulation in addition to numerical errors for linear transport system. We have generalized the modified Picard iteration algorithm of Celia et al. 5 for unsaturated flow to solve the nonlinear transport equation. Written in a 'mixed-form' formulation, the total solute concentration is expanded in a Taylor series with respect to the solution concentration to linearize the transport equation, which is then solved with a conventional finite element method. Numerical results of this mixed-form algorithm are compared with those obtained with the concentration-based scheme using conventional Picard iteration. In general, the new solver resulted in negligible mass balance errors (< |10-8|%) and required less computational time than the conventional iteration scheme for the test examples, including transport involving highly nonlinear adsorption under steady-state as well as transient flow conditions. In contrast, mass balance errors resulting from the conventional Picard iteration method were higher than 10% for some highly nonlinear problems. Application of the modified Picard iteration scheme to solve the nonlinear transport equation may greatly reduce the mass balance errors and increase computational efficiency.

published proceedings

  • Advances in Water Resources

author list (cited authors)

  • Huang, K., Mohanty, B. P., Leij, F. J., & van Genuchten, M. T.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Huang, Kangle||Mohanty, Binayak P||Leij, Feike J||van Genuchten, M Th

publication date

  • March 1998