Mapping the local viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids flowing through disordered porous structures
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Flow of non-Newtonian fluids through topologically complex structures is ubiquitous in most biological, industrial and environmental settings. The interplay between local hydrodynamics and the fluid’s constitutive law determines the distribution of flow paths. Consequently the spatial heterogeneity of the viscous resistance controls mass and solute transport from the micron to the meter scale. Examples range from oil recovery and groundwater engineering to drug delivery, filters and catalysts. Here we present a new methodology to map the spatial variation of the local viscosity of a non-Newtonian fluid flowing through a complex pore geometry. We use high resolution image velocimetry to determine local shear rates. Knowing the local shear rate in combination with a separate measurement of the fluid’s constitutive law allows to quantitatively map the local viscosity at the pore scale. Our experimental results—which closely match with three-dimensional numerical simulations—demonstrate that the exponential decay of the longitudinal velocity distributions, previously observed for Newtonian fluids, is a function of the spatial heterogeneity of the local viscosity. This work sheds light on the relationship between hydraulic properties and the viscosity at the pore scale, which is of fundamental importance for predicting transport properties, mixing, and chemical reactions in many porous systems. Show more
Journal / seriesScientific Reports
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Organisational unit03798 - Kirchner, James W. / Kirchner, James W.
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