Stochastic transport in the presence of spatial disorder: fluctuation-induced corrections to homogenization

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Motivated by uncertainty quantification in natural transport systems, we investigate an individual-based transport process involving particles undergoing a random walk along a line of point sinks whose strengths are themselves independent random variables. We assume particles are removed from the system via first-order kinetics. We analyze the system using a hierarchy of approaches when the sinks are sparsely distributed, including a stochastic homogenization approximation that yields explicit predictions for the extrinsic disorder in the stationary state due to sink strength fluctuations. The extrinsic noise induces long-range spatial correlations in the particle concentration, unlike fluctuations due to the intrinsic noise alone. Additionally, the mean concentration profile, averaged over both intrinsic and extrinsic noise, is elevated compared with the corresponding profile from a uniform sink distribution, showing that the classical homogenization approximation can be a biased estimator of the true mean.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number042121
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Early online date17 Oct 2016
StatePublished - Oct 2016