CRIBBIN, L. ... et al., 2014. Reaction front formation in contaminant plumes. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 171, pp. 12-21.
The formation of successive fronts in contaminated groundwater plumes by subsoil bacterial action is a commonly accepted feature of their propagation, but it is not obviously clear from a mathematical standpoint quite how such fronts are formed or propagate. In this paper we show that these can be explained by combining classical reaction-diffusion theory involving just two reactants (oxidant and reductant), and a secondary reaction in which a reactant on one side of such a front is (re-)formed on the other side of the front via diffusion of its product across the front. We give approximate asymptotic solutions for the reactant profiles, and the propagation rate of the front.
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This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under Grant Number: SFI/09/IN.1/I2645. A. C. F. acknowledges the support of the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (www.macsi.ul.ie) funded by the Science Foundation Ireland mathematics initiative grant SFI/12/IA/1683.