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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Transport in Porous Media, 2016, Vol.112(1), pp.207-227
    Description: According to experimental observations, capillary trapping is strongly dependent on the roughness of the pore–solid interface. We performed imbibition experiments in the range of capillary numbers ( Ca ) from $$10^{-6}$$ 10 - 6 to $$5\times 10^{-5}$$ 5 × 10 - 5 using 2D-micromodels, which exhibit a rough surface. The microstructure comprises a double-porosity structure with pronounced macropores. The dynamics of precursor thin-film flow and its importance for capillary trapping are studied. The experimental data for thin-film flow advancement show a square-root time dependence. Based on the experimental data, we conducted inverse modeling to investigate the influence of surface roughness on the dynamic contact angle of precursor thin-film flow. Our experimental results show that trapped gas saturation decreases logarithmically with an increasing capillary number. Cluster analysis shows that the morphology and number of trapped clusters change with capillary number. We demonstrate that capillary trapping shows significant differences for vertical flow and horizontal flow. We found that our experimental results agree with theoretical results of percolation theory for $$Ca =10^{-6}$$ C a = 10 - 6 : (i) a universal power-like cluster size distribution, (ii) the linear surface–volume relationship of trapped clusters, and (iii) the existence of the cutoff correlation length for the maximal cluster height. The good agreement is a strong argument that the experimental cluster size distribution is caused by a percolation-like trapping process (ordinary percolation). For the first time, it is demonstrated experimentally that the transition zone model proposed by Wilkinson (Phys Rev A 30:520–531, 1984) can be applied to 2D-micromodels, if bicontinuity is generalized such that it holds for the thin-film water phase and the bulk gas phase.
    Keywords: 2D-micromodel with rough surface ; Precursor thin-film flow ; Snap-off trapping ; Universal power law ; Ordinary bond percolation
    ISSN: 0169-3913
    E-ISSN: 1573-1634
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2012, Vol.11(3), p.0
    Description: Recently, a new approach was introduced to directly measure unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in flux-controlled experiments--the multistep flux experiment. Thereby an overshoot in matric potential h (sub m) across drainage and infiltration fronts was observed. We extended this experimental approach to simultaneously measure the volumetric water content Theta within the sample and applied the method to a sand and a clay loam soil. The detailed trajectories within the h (sub m) -Theta space were obtained during a number of decreasing and increasing steps in infiltration rate. This clearly demonstrates the type and magnitude of hydraulic nonequilibrium under transient conditions where water content and matric potential deviate from a well-defined static relation. We also compared the directly measured hydraulic conductivities with those obtained from classical multistep outflow experiments and found that nonequilibrium dynamics might lead to an underestimation of hydraulic conductivity when obtained from an inverse solution of Richards" equation. We provide a qualitative explanation of nonequilibrium that depends on the structure of the material and the type and magnitude of external forcing. The new experimental setup is considered to be a valuable tool to actually quantify nonequilibrium effects. This will make it possible to represent this relevant phenomenon in future modeling concepts.
    Keywords: Hydrogeology ; Aquifers ; Climate Forcing ; Discharge ; Drainage ; Experimental Studies ; Ground Water ; Hydraulic Conductivity ; Hydrodynamics ; Hysteresis ; Infiltration ; Models ; Richards Equation ; Saturation ; Soil Mechanics ; Solute Transport ; Transport ; Unsaturated Zone;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 3
    In: Water Resources Research, May 2014, Vol.50(5), pp.4514-4529
    Description: A major difficulty in modeling multiphase flow in porous media is the emergence of trapped phases. Our experiments demonstrate that gas can be trapped in either single‐pores, multipores, or in large connected networks. These large connected clusters can comprise up to eight grain volumes and can contain up to 50% of the whole trapped gas volume. About 85% of the gas volume is trapped by gas clusters. This variety of possible trapped gas clusters of different shape and volume will lead to a better process understanding of bubble‐mediated mass transfer. Since multipore gas bubbles are in contact with the solid surface through ultrathin adsorbed water films the interfacial area between trapped gas clusters and intergranular capillary water is only about 80% of the total gas surface. We could derive a significant (R = 0.98) linear relationship between the gas‐water‐interface and gas saturation. We found no systematic dependency of the front velocity of the invading water phase in the velocity range from 0.1 to 0.6 cm/min corresponding to capillary numbers from 2 × 10 to 10. Our experimental results indicate that the capillary trapping mechanism is controlled by the local pore structure and local connectivity and not by thermodynamics, i.e., by the minimum of the , at least in the considered velocity range. Consistent with this physical picture is our finding that the trapping frequency (= bubble‐size distribution) reflects the pore size distribution for the whole range of pore radii, i.e., the capillary trapping process is determined by statistics and not by thermodynamics. No systematic dependency of trapping efficiency on capillary number Majority of trapped gas bubbles (85%) are multipore trapped Trapping of gas clusters is determined by statistics and not by thermodynamics
    Keywords: Gas Clusters ; Capillary Trapping ; Interfacial Area
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2015, Vol.14(5), p.0
    Description: We used X-ray computed microtomography to study gas trapping in a fluctuating water table. Our results show that capillary forces control trapping and phase distribution in dynamic capillary fringes. In porous media, the nonwetting phase is trapped on water saturation due to capillary forces acting in a heterogeneous porous structure. Within the capillary fringe, the gas phase is trapped and released along with the fluctuation of the water table, creating a highly active zone for biological transformations and mass transport. We conducted column experiments to observe and quantify the magnitude and structure of the trapped gas phase at the pore scale using computed microtomography. Different grain size distributions of glass beads were used to study the effect of the pore structure on trapping at various capillary numbers. Viscous forces were found to have negligible impact on phase trapping compared with capillary and buoyancy forces. Residual gas saturations ranged from 0.5 to 10%, while residual saturation increased with decreasing grain size. The gas phase was trapped by snap-off in single pores but also in pore clusters, while this single-pore trapping was dominant for grains larger than 1 mm in diameter. Gas surface area was found to increase linearly with increasing gas volume and with decreasing grain size.
    Keywords: Grain Size ; Water Table ; Mass Transport ; Buoyancy ; Pores ; Porous Media ; Particle Size ; Water Table ; Saturation ; Vadose Water ; Fluctuations ; Trapping ; Buoyancy ; Methods and Instruments ; General;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(2), p.654
    Description: The unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function is the dominant material property for modeling soil water dynamics. Because it is difficult to measure directly, it is often derived from the water retention characteristic combined with a geometric model of the pore space. In this study, we developed an automated, simple multistep flux (MSF) experiment to directly measure unsaturated conductivities, K(psi (sub m) ), at a number of water potentials, psi (sub m) , using the experimental setup of classical multistep outflow (MSO) experiments. In contrast to the MSO experiment, the MSF experiment measures the conductivity directly at a spatially constant water potential assuming macroscopically homogeneous materials. Additionally, the proposed method reveals the hysteresis of K(psi (sub m) ) with respect to increasing and decreasing water potentials as well as the temporal dynamics of K(psi (sub m) ) during transient-flow conditions. This temporal behavior is explained by the dynamics of fluid configurations at the pore scale during drainage and imbibition leading to hydraulic nonequilibrium. It may provoke a systematic underestimation of hydraulic conductivity using inverse optimization of K(psi (sub m) ) based on classical MSO experiments. The new approach will improve the determination of K(psi (sub m) ) and it provides an experimental tool to quantify the effects of hydraulic nonequilibrium under transient conditions.
    Keywords: Hydrogeology ; Experimental Studies ; Geometry ; Ground Water ; Hydraulic Conductivity ; Hysteresis ; Inverse Problem ; Mathematical Methods ; Measurement ; Models ; Movement ; Optimization ; Phase Equilibria ; Soils ; Unsaturated Zone;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(3), p.1082
    Description: Predicting solute transport through structured soil based on observable structural properties of the material has not been accomplished to date. We evaluated a new approach to predicting breakthrough curves (BTCs) of dissolved chemicals in intact structured soil columns based on attributes of the pore structure at hierarchical spatial scales. The methodology centers on x-ray computed microtomography of a hierarchic suite of undisturbed soil samples (diameters 1, 4.6, 7.5, and 16 cm) to identify the network of pores 〉10 mu m in diameter. The pore structure was quantified in terms of pore size distribution, interface area density, and connectivity. The pore size distribution and pore connectivity were used to set up an equivalent pore network model (PNM) for predicting the BTCs of Br (super -) and Brilliant Blue FCF (BB) at unsaturated, steady-state flux. For a structured silt loam soil column, the predictions of Br (super -) tracer breakthrough were within the variation observed in the column experiments. A similarly good prediction was obtained for Br (super -) breakthrough in a sandy soil column. The BB breakthrough observed in the silt loam was dominated by a large variation in sorption (retardation factors between R = 2.9 and 24.2). The BB sorption distribution coefficient, k (sub d) , was measured in batch tests. Using the average k (sub d) in the PNM resulted in an overestimated retardation (R = 28). By contrast, breakthrough of BB in the sandy soil (experimental R = 3.3) could be roughly predicted using the batch test k (sub d) (PNM simulation R = 5.3). The prediction improved when applying a sorption correction function accounting for the deviation between measured interface area density distribution and its realization in the network model (R = 4.1). Overall, the results support the hypothesis that solute transport can be estimated based on a limited number of characteristics describing pore structure: the pore size distribution, pore topology, and pore-solid interfacial density.
    Keywords: Soils ; Bad Lauchstadt Germany ; Boundary Conditions ; Breakthrough Curves ; Bromine ; Central Europe ; Central Germany ; Chemical Dispersion ; Chernozems ; Computed Tomography ; Convection ; Density ; Dye Tracers ; Equations ; Europe ; Experimental Studies ; Fuhrberg Germany ; Germany ; Halogens ; Image Analysis ; Laboratory Studies ; Lower Saxony Germany ; Microtomography ; Minckowski Functions ; Morphology ; Networks ; Podzols ; Porosity ; Quantitative Analysis ; Saxony-Anhalt Germany ; Simulation ; Soils ; Solute Transport ; Spectra ; Tomography ; Topology ; Transport ; X-Ray Spectra;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 7
    In: Water Resources Research, June 2017, Vol.53(6), pp.4709-4724
    Description: The relaxation dynamics toward a hydrostatic equilibrium after a change in phase saturation in porous media is governed by fluid reconfiguration at the pore scale. Little is known whether a hydrostatic equilibrium in which all interfaces come to rest is ever reached and which microscopic processes govern the time scales of relaxation. Here we apply fast synchrotron‐based X‐ray tomography (X‐ray CT) to measure the slow relaxation dynamics of fluid interfaces in a glass bead pack after fast drainage of the sample. The relaxation of interfaces triggers internal redistribution of fluids, reduces the surface energy stored in the fluid interfaces, and relaxes the contact angle toward the equilibrium value while the fluid topology remains unchanged. The equilibration of capillary pressures occurs in two stages: (i) a quick relaxation within seconds in which most of the pressure drop that built up during drainage is dissipated, a process that is to fast to be captured with fast X‐ray CT, and (ii) a slow relaxation with characteristic time scales of 1–4 h which manifests itself as a spontaneous imbibition process that is well described by the Washburn equation for capillary rise in porous media. The slow relaxation implies that a hydrostatic equilibrium is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase experiments in which a flux boundary condition is changed from flow to no‐flow. Implications for experiments with pressure boundary conditions are discussed. What happens to fluids in a porous medium after pumping is stopped? Fast X‐ray tomography shows that even in a sample smaller than a sugar cube fluid interfaces continue to move for hours until an optimal fluid configuration is reached. The pace is limited by slow relaxation of dynamic contact angles. Therefore hydrostatic equilibrium, which is the state at which all fluid interfaces come to rest, is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase flow experiments where the flow is stopped in much larger soil or rock samples. Relaxation dynamics through internal redistribution of fluids after fast drainage occurs in two stages A quick dissipation within seconds is followed by slow relaxation within several hours due to relaxation of dynamic contact angles Fluid configurations during relaxation are very different from those during quasi‐static drainage and imbibition
    Keywords: Two‐Phase Flow ; Dynamic Effects ; Hydraulic Nonequilibrium ; Dynamic Contact Angle ; Fluid Configuration ; Fluid Topology
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Geoderma, 01 September 2018, Vol.325, pp.37-48
    Description: Organic particles including microorganisms are a significant fraction of the mobile organic matter (MOM) pool that contributes to initial pedogenesis. Still, the dynamics and the interplay of the multitude of processes that control the mobilization, transport, and retention of MOM are vastly unclear. We studied this interplay using an ‘artificial soil’ as model for a young, unstructured soil with defined initial composition employing a novel two-layer column experiment. The upstream layer was composed of a mixture of well-defined mineral phases, a sterile organic matter source and a diverse, natural microbial inoculant mimicking an organic-rich topsoil. The downstream layer, mimicking the subsoil, was composed of the mineral phases, only. Columns were run under water-unsaturated flow conditions with multiple flow interruptions to reflect natural flow regimes and to detect possible non-equilibrium processes. Pore system changes caused by flow were inspected by scanning electron microscopy and computed micro-tomography. MOM-related physicochemical effluent parameters and bacterial community diversity and abundance were assessed by molecular analysis of the effluent and the solid phase obtained after the long-term irrigation experiment (75 d). Tomographic data showed homogeneous packing of the fine-grained media (sandy loam). During flow, the initially single-grain structured artificial soil showed no connected macropores. In total, 6% of the initial top layer organic matter was mobile. The release and transport of particulate (1.2%) and dissolved organic matter (4.8%) including bacteria were controlled by non-equilibrium conditions. Bacterial cells were released and selectively transported to downstream layer resulting in a depth-dependent and selective establishment of bacterial communities in the previously sterile artificial soil. This study underlines the importance of bacterial transport from the surface or topsoil for colonization and maturation of downstream compartments. This initial colonization of pristine surfaces is the major step in forming biogeochemical interfaces - the prominent locations of intensive biological activity and element turnover that seem to play a major role for the functioning of soil.
    Keywords: Mobile Organic Matter ; Unsaturated Two-Layer Column Experiment ; Experimental Pedogenesis ; Artificial Soil ; Computed Micro-Tomography ; Molecular Analysis ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 0016-7061
    E-ISSN: 1872-6259
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  • 9
    In: Water Resources Research, April 2009, Vol.45(4), pp.n/a-n/a
    Description: High‐resolution optical bench‐scale experiments were conducted in order to investigate local gas flow pattern and integral flow properties caused by point‐like gas injection into water‐saturated glass beads. The main goal of this study was to test the validity of the continuum approach for two‐fluid flow in macroscopic homogeneous media. Analyzing the steady state experimental gas flow pattern that satisfies the necessary coherence condition by image processing and calibrating the optical gas distribution by the gravimetrical gas saturation, it was found that a pulse‐like function yields the best fit for the lateral gas saturation profile. This strange behavior of a relatively sharp saturation transition is in contradiction to the widely anticipated picture of a smooth Gaussian‐like transition, which is obtained by the continuum approach. This transition is caused by the channelized flow structure, and it turns out that only a narrow range of capillary pressure is realized by the system, whereas the continuum approach assumes that within the representative elementary volume the whole spectrum of capillary pressures can be realized. It was found that the stochastical hypothesis proposed by Selker et al. (2007) that bridges pore scale and continuum scale is supported by the experiments. In order to study channelized gas flow on the pore scale, a variational treatment, which minimizes the free energy of an undulating capillary, was carried out. On the basis of thermodynamical arguments the geometric form of a microcapillary, macrochannel formation and a length‐scale‐dependent transition in gas flow pattern from coherent to incoherent flow are discussed.
    Keywords: Air Sparging ; Continuum Modeling ; Pore‐Scale Modeling ; Gas Flow Pattern ; Instability Analysis ; Image Processing
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
    Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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