Spectral perturbation techniques have been used previously to derive integral expressions for dispersive mixing in concentration-dependent transport in three-dimensional, heterogeneous porous media, where fluid density and viscosity are functions of solute concentration. Whereas earlier work focused on evaluating longitudinal dispersivity in isotropic media and incorporating the result in a mean one-dimensional transport model, the emphasis of this paper is on evaluation of the complete dispersion tensor, including the more general case of anisotropic media. Approximate analytic expressions for all components of the macroscopic dispersivity tensor are derived, and the tensor is shown to be asymmetric. The tensor is separated into its symmetric and antisymmetric parts, where the symmetric part is used to calculate the principal components and principal directions of dispersivity, and the antisymmetric part of the tensor is shown to modify the velocity of the solute body compared to that of the background fluid. An example set of numerical simulations incorporating the tensor illustrates the effect of density-coupled dispersivity on a sinking plume in an aquifer. The simulations show that the effective transverse vertical spreading in a sinking plume to be significantly greater than would be predicted by a standard density-coupled transport model that does not incorporate the coupling in the dispersivity tensor.
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Stochastic analysis of transverse dispersion in density-coupled transport in aquifers