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126 xm PoULUTION CONTROL ENGINEERING
6.3 DIFFUSION MODELS
In the air pollution literature this next class of models is usually called diffusion mod-
els. Most engineers would call them dispersion models because engineers reserve
the word diffusion for molecular diffusion, which is not the principal mechanism
described by these models. However, the preceding name is so common that it will
be used here.
6.3.1 The Gaussian Plume Idea
Most diffusion models use the Gaussian plume idea, which also is a material balance
model. In it, one considers a point source such as a factory smokestack (which is not
really a point but a small area that can be satisfactorily approximated as a point) and
attempts to compute the downwind concentration resulting from this point source.
The schematic representation and nomenclature are shown in Fig. 6.3, where the
origin of the coordinate system is placed at the base of the smokestack, with the
x axis aligned in the downwind direction. The contaminated gas stream (normally
called a plume) is shown rising from the smokestack and then leveling off to travel
in the x direction and spreading in the y and z directions as it travels
Such plumes normally rise a considerable distance above the smokestack be-
cause they are emitted at temperatures higher than atmospheric and with a vertical
velocity. For Gaussian plume calculations the plume is assumed to be emitted from
ys z= Oat base of stack
FIGURE 6.3
Coordinate system and nomenclature for the Gaussian plume idea.AIR POLLUTANT CONCENTRATION MODELS 127
a point with coordinates 0,0, H, where H is called the effective stack height, which
is the sum of the physical stack height (h in Fig. 6.3) and the plwne rise (Ah in Fig.
6.3). Physical stack height for any existing plant can be determined with ordinary
measuring instruments. Plume rise is discussed in Sec. 6.4. For the moment we will
assume that we are dealing with a point source located at 0,0, H that steadily emits
anonbuoyant pollutant at emission rate Q (normally in g/s). Let us assume the wind
blows in the x direction with velocity and that this velocity is independent of time,
location, or elevation. The problem is to compute the concentration due to this source
at any point (x, y, z) for x > 0.
If molecular diffusion alone were causing the plume to mix with the surround-
ing air, the plume would spread slowly and appear (if the pollutant is visible) as a
thin streak moving straight down the sky (see Problem 6.33). The actual cause of the
spread of plumes is the large-scale turbulent mixing that exists in the atmosphere,
which may be visualized by comparing a snapshot of a plume with a time exposure
of the same plume (Fig. 6.4). At any instant the plume will appear to have a twisting,
snake-like shape as it moves down the sky. The twisting behavior is caused by the
turbulent motion of the atmosphere that is superimposed on the plume's large-scale
linear motion caused by the horizontal wind. This turbulent motion is random in
nature, so that a snapshot taken a few minutes after the first would show the twists
and turns in different places, but the overall form would be similar. However, time
averages out these short-term variations of the plume, and thus a time exposure
appears quite uniform and symmetrical. For this reason, if we placed a pollutant-
concentration meter at some fixed point in the plume, we would see the concentration
oscillate in an irregular fashion about some average value. The Gaussian plume ap-
proach tries to calculate only that average value without making any statement about
instantaneous values. The results obtained by Gaussian plume calculations should
be considered only as averages over periods of at least 10 minutes, and preferably
one-half to one hour.
Snapshot ‘Time exposure
FIGURE 64
Comparison of snapshot and time exposure of a visible plume.AIR POLLUTION CONTROL ENGINEERING
128
6.3.2
To derive the Gaussian plume formula, we will first take the viewpoint of a person
along with the air, the Lagrangian viewpoint. From this viewpoint, the ground
5 to be passing below, much as the ground appears to be passing below a person
long upwind of the stack from which the pollutant is
Gaussian Plume Derivation
riding
appeal
in an airplane. We begin ridin,
emitted, so we will say that the initial concentration of the pollutant is zero (b = 0)
(If b > 0, we must add the value of b to the value calculated here to obtain the best
¢ of the atmospheric concentration.) As we pass directly over the stack we
pass into a region of high concentration. This high concentration is localized in a thin
thread of contaminated air that passes directly over the stack. After we have passed
the stack we will see this thread of contaminated air expand by turbulent mixing.
To find out how it expands by turbulent mixing, we will perform a material
balance around some small cube of space near the center of the plume. The dimen-
sions of this small cube are shown in Fig. 6.5. Let us consider a material that is
neither created nor destroyed in the atmosphere, so that the two right-most terms of
estim;
Eq. (6.1) are zero. The remaining terms are
Accumulation all flow all flow )
a of 6.12)
Coe) keane aml
The accumulation rate is the time derivative of the amount contained, which is the
product of the concentration and the volume. But the volume of the cube is not
changing with time, so
a ae de
—(cV) = V— = Ax Ay Az — (6.13)
ar ar
s no bulk flow (i.e., convection) into or out of the cube we are considering
Accumulation rate
There
because the cube is moving with the local wind velocity. However, there are flows
through all six faces of the cube due to turbulent mixing. We do not have a clear
and complete physical or mathematical picture of the complex subject of turbulent
mixing, but one may approximate it by saying that the flux of material being mixed
FIGURE 65
Dimensions of the cube used for the material balance.
across any surface is
where ¢ = conce
n = distar
K = turbu
Because the flux mo
dimensions of mass
This dimension is
and we will see the
conduction or mass
the same; rather it s}
and mass diffusion:
turbulent dispersion
concentration to loy
transport or K-thee
coefficient, K, iso}
Our cube has
(in Fig looksi
looks in the plus»
(6.14) twice, we e
two faces can bed
Net flow into the
in the x direct
where the first ter
second represents
Procedure we can
9c/dz and two im
six faces by turbu
the accumulation
analogous ones ir

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