A combined experimental and numerical study was conducted to support the development of a new gradient maintenance technique for salt-gradient solar ponds. Two numerical models were developed and verified by laboratory experiments. The first is an axisymmetric (near-field) model which determines mixing and entrainment in the near-field of the injecting diffuser by solving the conservation equations of mass, momentum, energy, and salt. The model assumes variable properties and uses a simple turbulence model based on the mixing length hypothesis to account for the turbulence effects. A series of experimental measurements were conducted in the laboratory for the initial adjustment of the turbulence model and verification of the code. The second model is a one-dimensional far-field model which determines the change of the salt distribution in the pond gradient zone as a result of injection by coupling the near-field injection conditions to the pond geometry. This is implemented by distributing the volume fluxes obtained at the domain boundary of the near-field model, to the gradient layers of the same densities. The numerical predictions obtained by the two-region model was found to be in reasonable agreement with the experimental data.

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