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Title: Flow and axial dispersion in a sinusoidal-walled tube: Effects of inertial and unsteady flows

Dispersion in porous media flows has been the subject of much experimental, theoretical and numerical study. Here we consider a wavy-walled tube (a three-dimensional tube with sinusoidally-varying diameter) as a simplified conceptualization of flow in porous media, where constrictions represent pore throats and expansions pore bodies. A theoretical model for effective (macroscopic) longitudinal dispersion in this system has been developed by volume averaging the microscale velocity field. Direct numerical simulation using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods was used to compute velocity fields by solving the Navier-Stokes equations, and also to numerically solve the volume averaging closure problem, for a range of Reynolds numbers (Re) spanning the low-Re to inertial flow regimes, including one simulation at Re = 449 for which unsteady flow was observed. Dispersion values were computed using both the volume averaging solution and a random walk particle tracking method, and results of the two methods were shown to be consistent. Our results are compared to experimental measurements of dispersion in porous media and to previous theoretical results for the low-Re, Stokes flow regime. In the steady inertial regime we observe an power-law increase in effective longitudinal dispersion (DL) with Re, consistent with previous results. This rapid rate ofmore » increase is caused by trapping of solute in expansions due to flow separation (eddies). For the unsteady case (Re = 449), the rate of increase of DL with Re was smaller than that observed at lower Re. Velocity fluctuations in this regime lead to increased rates of solute mass transfer between the core flow and separated flow regions, thus diminishing the amount of tailing caused by solute trapping in eddies and thereby reducing longitudinal dispersion.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Advances in Water Resources, 62(Part B):215-226
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
porous media; dispersion; volume averaging; CFD; Pore-scale