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Laminar flow through isotropic granular porous media

Woudberg, Sonia (2006-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Mathematical Sciences. Applied Mathematics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


An analytical modelling procedure for predicting the streamwise pressure gradient for steady laminar incompressible flow of a Newtonian fluid through homogeneous isotropic granular porous media is introduced. The modelling strategy involves the spatial volume averaging of a statistical representative portion of the porous domain to obtain measurable macroscopic quantities from which macroscopic transport equations can be derived. A simple pore-scale model is introduced to approximate the actual complex granular porous microstructure through rectangular cubic geometry. The sound physical principles on which the modelling procedure is based avoid the need for redundant empirical coefficients. The model is generalized to predict the rheological flow behaviour of non-Newtonian purely viscous power law fluids by introducing the dependence of the apparent viscosity on the shear rate through the wall shear stress. The field of application of the Newtonian model is extended to predict the flow behaviour in fluidized beds by adjusting the Darcy velocity to incorporate the relative velocity of the solid phase. The Newtonian model is furthermore adjusted to predict fluid flow through Fontainebleau sandstone by taking into account the effect of blocked throats at very low porosities. The analytical model as well as the model generalizations for extended applicability is verified through comparison with other analytical and semi-empirical models and a wide range of experimental data from the literature. The accuracy of the predictive analytical model reveals to be highly acceptable for most engineering designs.

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