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EESS talk on "Newton's Shear Flow Approach to Infiltration and Drainage"


Event details

Date and time 22.10.2019 12:1513:00  
Place and room
Speaker Dr Peter Germann, professor emeritus, Institute of Geography, UniBE. After his first degree in Forest Engineering from the ETH-Z in 1969, he earned in 1976 my PhD in Soil Physics with Prof. F. Richard, Forestry Department at the ETH-Z with the dissertation on Water Balance and Electrolyte Transport in a Forest- and Grassland-Ecosystem. From 1976 to 1980 he was a Research Associate in Hydrology at the VAW/ETH-Z investigating soil hydrology in the Rietholzbach Catchment (Leader: Prof. H. Lang). In 1980, he spent a Post-Doc study year at the Institute of Hydrology, Wallingford (UK) that initiated research on macropore flow. From 1980 to 1986, he served as Assistant Professor in Hydrology at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (USA). From 1986 to 1989, P. Germann was Associate Professor of Soil Physics with the Soils and Crops Department, Cooks College of Agriculture, New Brunswick Campus of Rutgers The State University of New Jersey (USA). In 1989, he became the first Professor in Soil Science at the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern, from where he retired in 2009.
Category Conferences - Seminars
Infiltration is considered a water shock that initiates a water content wave (WCW) moving across a permeable medium. Gravity is the only driving force that is balanced by viscosity, while atmospheric pressure prevails in the WCW. Following Newton's law of shear, the two parameters film thickness and specific contact area of the WCW per unit volume of the permeable medium suffice to quantify infiltration and drainage. The specific contact area is the locus of momentum, energy, heat, water, solute, and particle exchanges between the WCW and the sessile parts of the medium. The approach extends Darcy's (1856) law into partially water-saturated permeable media. It belongs to the family of Newton's shear flow that includes flows according to Hagen-Poiseuille (1846), Darcy (1856), and Dupuit (1865)-Forchheimer in saturated media. The basics are briefly introduced and examples from experiments illustrate the various aspects of Newton's shear flow in permeable media.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. Andrea Rinaldo & Dr Paolo Benettin, ECHO


Preferential flow Newton's shear flow Hydro-mechanical limitations Application to infiltration and drainage Exchange of momentum energy heat solutes and particles