Pore scale analysis of flow through porous media is of interest because it is essential for understanding internal erosion and piping, among other applications. Past studies have mainly focused on exploring macroscopic flow to infer microscopic phenomena. An innovative method is introduced in this study which permits visualization of interstitial fluid flow through the pores of a saturated synthetic transparent granular medium at the microscale. Several representative images of Ottawa sand were obtained using dynamic image analysis (DIA), for comparison with flow through perfect cylinders. Magnified transparent soil particles made of hydrogel were cast in 3D printed molds. Custom 3D printed jigs were employed for accurate positioning of the particles to ensure that particles have the same flow area within the soil. The pore fluid was embedded with silver-coated hollow microspheres that allowed for their florescence and tracking their movement within the model when illuminated by a laser light source. Images of the flow were captured from the model using a high-speed camera. This, along with particle image velocimetry (PIV) provided for the velocity and direction analysis of fluid flow movements within the pore space of a planar 2D model. Comparison of interstitial flow through homogeneous porosity-controlled Ottawa-shaped and cylindrical particles demonstrates that the magnitude of turbulence is related to particle roundness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
- Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering