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The demo version of the program, and examples
and manual, can be downloaded from
the software download area.

Year: 1996
Version: 2.0


UNSATCHEM is a software package for simulating water, heat, carbon dioxide and solute movement in one-dimensional variably saturated media. The software consists of the UNSCHEM (version 2.0) computer program, and the UNSATCH interactive graphics-based user interface. The UNSCHEM program numerically solves the Richards' equation for variably-saturated water flow and convection-dispersion type equations for heat, carbon dioxide and solute transport. The flow equation incorporates a sink term to account for water uptake by plant roots. The heat transport equation considers transport due to conduction and convection with flowing water. Diffusion in both liquid and gas phases and convection in the liquid phase are considered as CO2 transport mechanisms. The CO2 production model is described. The major variables of the chemical system are Ca, Mg, Na, K, SO4, Cl, NO3, H4SiO4, alkalinity, and CO2. The model accounts for equilibrium chemical reactions between these components such as complexation, cation exchange and precipitation-dissolution. For the precipitation-dissolution of calcite and dissolution of dolomite, either equilibrium or multicomponent kinetic expressions are used which include both forward and back reactions. Other dissolution-precipitation reactions considered include gypsum, hydromagnesite, nesquehonite, and sepiolite. Since the ionic strength of soil solutions can vary considerably with time and space and often reach high values, both modified Debye-Huckel and Pitzer expressions were incorporated into the model as options to calculate single ion activities.

The program may be used to analyze water and solute movement in unsaturated, partially saturated, or fully saturated porous media. The flow region may be composed of nonuniform soils. Flow and transport can occur in the vertical, horizontal, or a generally inclined direction. The water flow part of the model can deal with prescribed head and flux boundaries, boundaries controlled by atmospheric conditions, as well as free drainage boundary conditions. The governing flow and transport equations are solved numerically using finite differences and Galerkin-type linear finite element schemes, respectively.

This report serves as both a user manual and reference document. Detailed instructions are given for data input preparation. A graphics-based user interface, UNSATCH, for data preparation and graphical output display in the MS Windows environment is described in the second part of the manual.


Simunek, J., D. L. Suarez, and M. Sejna. 1996. The UNSATCHEM Software Package for Simulating One-Dimensional Variably Saturated Water Flow, Heat Transport, Carbon Dioxide Production and Transport, and Solute Transport with Major Ion Equilibrium and Kinetic Chemistry, Version 2.0. Research Report No. 141, USDA-ARS U. S. Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, California.


The program and manual are available upon request from:

Donald Suarez
USDA-ARS U.S. Salinity Laboratory
450 W Big Springs Road
Riverside, CA 92507-4617

Tel: 951-369-4816
Fax: 951-342-4962