New publication about predicting dispersion of solutes in porous materials

22 April 2021

The researchers Marco Dentz and Alexandre Puyguiraud from the Groundwater and Hydrogeochemistry group, in collaboration with the University of Montpellier, have published an article in Physical Review Letters on the prediction of solute dispersion in porous materials.

Rocks, fuel cells and human tissues are examples of fluid-saturated porous media in which dissolved chemicals (solutes) move due to the combined action of fluid flow and diffusion.

These processes occur at all scales and produce spreading (dispersion) of solutes such as pollutants, chemical reactants or nutrients. Thus, predicting solute dispersion is a central concern for a wealth of environmental, industrial and biological applications.

Direct numerical simulations of complex porous media (figure left) show that solute dispersion evolves with time, and depends on the spatial distribution of the fluid velocity, which is controlled
by the geometry and structure of the pore space. However, the detailed characterization of natural and engineered porous media is not feasible due to their complexity and multi scale nature.

Thus, a theory is derived for predicting solute migration from a few salient medium and flow characteristics based on the abstraction of the porous medium as a network of conducts along which solute moves at variable travel times. This picture allows estimating residence times in
porous media, and assessing the migration and distribution of dissolved chemicals.

Apart from being published, the article was selected to be the front cover of the journal (Volume 126, Number 16).

Click here to read the full article.

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