Chemotaxis, the microorganisms autonomous motility along or against the concentration gradients of a chemical species, is an important, yet often neglected factor controlling the transport of bacteria through saturated porous media. For example, chemotactic bacteria could enhance bioremediation by directing their own motion to residual contaminants trapped in low hydraulic conductive zones of contaminated aquifers. The aim of the present work is to develop an accurate numerical scheme to model chemotaxis in saturated porous media and other advective dominating flow systems. We propose to model chemotaxis by using a new class of meshless Lagrangian particle methods we recently developed for applications in fluid mechanics. The method is based on the Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) formulation of (Ben Moussa et al., Int Ser Numer Math, 13(1):29-62, 2006), combined with a new Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (WENO) reconstruction technique on moving point clouds in multiple space dimensions. The purpose of this new numerical scheme is to fully exploit the advantages of SPH among traditional mesh-based and mesh-free schemes and to overcome drawbacks related to the use of standard SPH for modeling chemotaxis in porous media. First, we test the new scheme against analytical reference solutions. Then, under the assumption of complete mixing at the Darcy scale, we perform two-dimensional conservative solute transport simulations under steady-state flow conditions, to show the capability of the proposed new scheme to model chemotaxis.
Keywords: Chemotaxis; Lagrangian particle methods; Meshfree WENO; Smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH).