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Title: A smoothed particle hydrodynamics model for droplet and film flow on smooth and rough fracture surfaces

Flow on fracture surfaces has been identified by many authors as an important flow process in unsaturated fractured rock formations. Given the complexity of flow dynamics on such small scales, robust numerical methods have to be employed in order to capture the highly dynamic interfaces and flow intermittency. In this work we present microscale free-surface flow simulations using a three-dimensional multiphase Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) code. Pairwise solid-fluid and fluid-fluid interaction forces are used to control the wetting behavior and cover a wide range of static and transient contact angles as well as Reynolds numbers encountered in droplet flow on rock surfaces. We validate our model via comparison with existing empirical and semi-analyical solutions for droplet flow. We use the model to investigate the occurence of adsorbed trailing films of droplets under various flow conditions and its importance for the flow dynamics when films and droplets coexist. We show that flow velocities are higher on prewetted surfaces covered by a thin film which is qualitatively attributed to the enhanced dynamic wetting and dewetting at the trailing and advancing contact line.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Advances in Water Resources, 59:1-14
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
unsaturated flow, fractured rocks, smoothed particle hydrodynamics, gravity-driven flow, film flow, surface tension