Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Newton's Shear Flow Applied to Infiltration and Drainage in Permeable Media

Version 1 : Received: 12 November 2019 / Approved: 13 November 2019 / Online: 13 November 2019 (15:45:38 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Germann, P. Viscosity Controls Rapid Infiltration and Drainage, Not the Macropores. Water 2020, 12, 337. Germann, P. Viscosity Controls Rapid Infiltration and Drainage, Not the Macropores. Water 2020, 12, 337.


The paper argues that universal approaches to infiltration and drainage in permeable media that pivot around capillarity and that led to dual porosity, non-equilibrium, or preferential flow need to be replaced by a dual process approach. One process has to account for relatively fast infiltration and drainage based on Newton's shear flow, while the other one is responsible for storage and relatively slow redistribution of soil water by focusing on capillarity. Already Schumacher (1864) postulated two separate processes. However, Buckingham's (1907) and Richards' (1931) apparent universal capillary-based approach to flow and storage of water in soils dominated. The paper introduces the basics of Newton's shear flow in permeable media. It presents experimental support for the four presumptions of (i) sharp wetting shock fronts; (ii) that move with constant velocities; (iii) atmospheric pressure prevails behind the wetting shock front; (iv) laminar flow. It further discusses the scale tolerance of the approach, its relationship to Darcy's (1856) law, and its extension to solute transport.


wetting shock fronts; shear flow; viscosity; capillarity; kinematic waves


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Environmental Science

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