2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


LAHM, Terry D., Capital University, 1 College and Main, Columbus, OH 43209, tlahm@capital.edu

Teaching the quantitative aspects of Hydrogeology can represent a challenge for faculty, especially when students exhibit an aversion to mathematics. Students may find introductory groundwater concepts, such as hydraulic gradient, Darcy's Law, and the Theis equation to be abstract or difficult to visualize when initially introduced. These quantitative concepts are central to the understanding of basic principles of groundwater flow and behavior in the environment. There are many software tools available to address this challenge, but few more versatile, ubiquitous, and powerful as EXCEL. We have developed a series of groundwater case studies that employ EXCEL to teach these quantitative aspects of Hydrogeology. A case study is highlighted that strengthens student's mathematical skills and addresses their math phobia by providing visualization tools and a quantitative framework. This exercise uses an analytical mathematical model and EXCEL to calculate the capture-zone shape for a trichloroethylene remediation well in Wooster, Ohio. The case study approach builds student interest in the problem and provides a context for an introduction to groundwater concepts. The effectiveness of the remediation well is evaluated by using the capture-zone equations. Once the capture-zone model is created in EXCEL, students perform a sensitivity analysis to explore the impacts of parameter uncertainty on capture-zone effectiveness. By using EXCEL, students can visualize natural processes more clearly and develop a higher level of understanding of what impacts capture-zone morphology.