PNG 550
Reactive Transport in the Subsurface

Lesson 0: Introduction to Reactive Transport Modeling



This lesson introduces Reactive Transport Models (RTMs), primarily focusing on a brief history of RTM development, governing equations, and key concepts. It includes a lightboard video about the governing RT equations, a video that introduces the code that we will use in this class, CrunchFlow, and the reading materials here. The idea here is to give you an overview of RTM. Many concepts introduced here will be detailed in later lessons so it is OK if you do not fully grasp them in this lesson. 

Please note that this is not a course that teaches how to numerically solve for reactive transport equations, which deserve a separate course by itself. Instead, this is a course that teaches fundamental reactive transport concepts and how to use an existing software CrunchFlow to solve and answer specific questions. So this is a model application course, not a numerical method course.  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should:

  • Know the RTM development history and recognize the names of general available reactive transport codes;
  • Understand what RTMs do in a broad sense and how they are different from other types of models ;
  • Gather what you need to run CrunchFlow simulations;
  • Run CrunchFlow simulations using the provided example input and database files.

Lesson Roadmap

 (Optional) Reading
  1. Steefel, C.I. 2007. Geochemical kinetics and transport. in Kinetics of Water-Rock Interaction. S. Brantley, J.K., A. White (ed), pp. 545-589, Springer New York.
  2. Steefel et al., 2005. "Reactive transport modeling: An essential tool and a new research approach for the Earth Sciences." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 240: 539-558.
  3. Li et al., 2017. "Expanding the role of reactive transport models in critical zone processes." Earth Science Reviews. 165: 280-301
  4. CrunchFlow manual 

Note: these are your references. You can skip through quickly in this lesson to get some overview idea. You will use these again and again later. 

To Do
  1. Read the online lesson material;
  2. Watch the lightboard video (~ 7 minutes) about reactive transport equations;
  3. Watch the orientation video 0lessonCrunchFlowOrientation;
  4. Run the simulation with the files provided; let the professor and / or teaching assistant know of any problems that arise. 


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not e-mail), located in Canvas.  I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.