A course delivery method by using a software to predict contaminant migration through a soil layer


COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION, vol.26, no.5, pp.1324-1335, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/cae.22027
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1324-1335


The authors propose a course delivery method for the contaminant transport through a saturated soil layer to explain contamination of soils in the Environmental Geotechnology course. In civil and environmental engineering education, analytical simulation models help students to understand the processes. MATLAB©-based simulation method is proposed in this paper, to enhance learning of students of contaminant migration phenomena, and the simulation program is written by the students within the course based on an existing analytical solution for two-dimensional transport of contaminants in a saturated soil layer. Students use systematic, step-by-step problem solving approach while identifying, formulating and solving the contaminant migration problem. The program is written for pulse source and includes advective and dispersive transport as well as sorption and the simulation is used to obtain the profiles of contaminant concentration as a function of distance from the source and time for a steady groundwater velocity. It is shown that the contaminant concentration profiles obtained by simulation demonstrate the processes involved, by this way, the software tool integrates with the rest of the course content. It was seen by the author that, almost all of the students, who are taking Environmental Geotechnology course, could write matlab codes for contaminant migration if guided properly by the instructor/assistant. In this regard, it seems important to conduct studies which will allow students to increase their matlab programming practice. Also the use of the computer simulation encourages the students to ask “what if” questions and to carry out parametric studies and to learn by “discovery”.