Multiscale Simulation and Uncertainty Quantification Techniques for Richards' Equation in Heterogeneous Media
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In this dissertation, we develop multiscale finite element methods and uncertainty quantification technique for Richards' equation, a mathematical model to describe fluid flow in unsaturated porous media. Both coarse-level and fine-level numerical computation techniques are presented. To develop an accurate coarse-scale numerical method, we need to construct an effective multiscale map that is able to capture the multiscale features of the large-scale solution without resolving the small scale details. With a careful choice of the coarse spaces for multiscale finite element methods, we can significantly reduce errors. We introduce several methods to construct coarse spaces for multiscale finite element methods. A coarse space based on local spectral problems is also presented. The construction of coarse spaces begins with an initial choice of multiscale basis functions supported in coarse regions. These basis functions are complemented using weighted local spectral eigenfunctions. These newly constructed basis functions can capture the small scale features of the solution within a coarse-grid block and give us an accurate coarse-scale solution. However, it is expensive to compute the local basis functions for each parameter value for a nonlinear equation. To overcome this difficulty, local reduced basis method is discussed, which provides smaller dimension spaces with which to compute the basis functions. Robust solution techniques for Richards' equation at a fine scale are discussed. We construct iterative solvers for Richards' equation, whose number of iterations is independent of the contrast. We employ two-level domain decomposition pre-conditioners to solve linear systems arising in approximation of problems with high contrast. We show that, by using the local spectral coarse space for the preconditioners, the number of iterations for these solvers is independent of the physical properties of the media. Several numerical experiments are given to support the theoretical results. Last, we present numerical methods for uncertainty quantification applications for Richards' equation. Numerical methods combined with stochastic solution techniques are proposed to sample conductivities of porous media given in integrated data. Our proposed algorithm is based on upscaling techniques and the Markov chain Monte Carlo method. Sampling results are presented to prove the efficiency and accuracy of our algorithm.
highly heterogeneous media
high contrast media
Kang, Seul Ki (2012). Multiscale Simulation and Uncertainty Quantification Techniques for Richards' Equation in Heterogeneous Media. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from