Groundwater Modelling is taught by Prof. Marijke Huysmans and is part of the Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Option Water Resources), the Interuniversity Programme in Water Resources Engineering (IUPWARE) and Master of Science in Physical Land Resources (Phylares). The course is taught in the first semester at VUB.
The goal of the course is to teach the students how to use professional software for simulation and prediction of groundwater flow and pollutant transport, so that they are able to analyse and solve groundwater problems that they will encounter in their professional career. In addition, the students should be able to transform the field data into model inputs, estimate or approximate missing data, select appropriate modelling tools, set up a numerical model, select appropriate boundary conditions, solve problems numerically, analyse convergence and stability criteria, interpret modelling results in a correct way, and present results by means of a professional report and oral presentation.
- Introduction to groundwater modelling mathematics, basic parameters and variables, continuity equation, momentum equation, flow equations for different conditions, boundary conditions, approximate groundwater flow equations;
- Finite difference techniques for groundwater modelling: steady and transient flow, numerical approximation of boundary conditions, matrix inversion techniques and iterative solvers, linear and non-linear problems, stability and convergence criteria;
- Finite element techniques for groundwater modelling: basic principles and element types, triangular finite elements for 2D steady flow, numerical approximation of boundary conditions, matrix inversion techniques and iterative solvers, hexahedral finite element technique for 3D transient flow, iso-parametric elements, approximation of time derivatives, numerical solution procedures;
- Numerical techniques for simulation of transport of chemicals in groundwater: mathematical expressions for transport, adsorption and reactions; numerical approximations, boundary conditions, stability and convergence criteria, upwind technique, dispersion correction, Lagrange technique;
- Overview of numerical models: MODFLOW, MODPATH, MT3D, user interfaces;
- Practical guidelines for groundwater modelling: general requirements, model setup, model calibration, sensitivity analyses and validation;
- Hands-on computer introduction to the MODFLOW model: grid design, input of aquifer characteristics and boundary conditions, choice of solvers and stopping criteria, output facilities and graphical representation of results;
- Hands-on computer introduction to MT3D: input of pollutant transport parameters and boundary conditions, choice of solvers and stopping criteria, output facilities and graphical representation of results, modelling of techniques for pollution containment and remediation;
- Introduction to a practical groundwater modelling case study; students are divided into groups of maximum 3 persons to analyse the case study and to prepare the report and presentation.
- Practical groundwater modeling case study on interpretation and modeling of pumping tests.
- Presentation of the results in class, discussion and conclusions.