Permeability in the mushy zone

R. G. Erdmann, D. R. Poirier, A. G. Hendrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


When modeled at macroscopic length scales, the complex dendritic network in the solid-plus-liquid region of a solidifying alloy (the "mushy zone") has been modeled as a continuum based on the theory of porous media. The most important property of a porous medium is its permeability, which relates the macroscopic pressure gradient to the throughput of fluid flow. Knowledge of the permeability of the mushy zone as a function of the local volume-fraction of liquid and other morphological parameters is thus essential to successfully modeling the flow of interdendritic liquid during alloy solidification. In current continuum models, the permeability of the mushy zone is given as a deterministic function of (1) the local volume fraction of liquid and (2) a characteristic length scale such as the primary dendrite arm spacing or the reciprocal of the specific surface area of the solid-liquid interface. Here we first provide a broad overview of the experimental data, mesoscale numerical flow simulations, and resulting correlations for the deterministic permeability of both equiaxed and columnar mushy zones. A extended view of permeability in mushy zones which includes the stochastic nature of permeability is discussed. This viewpoint is the result of performing extensive numerical simulations of creeping flow through random microstructures. The permeabilities obtained from these simulations are random functions with spatial autocorrelation structures, and variations in the local permeability are shown to have dramatic effects on the flow patterns observed in such microstructures. Specifically, it is found that "lightning-like" patterns emerge in the fluid velocity and that the flows in such geometries are strongly sensitive to small variations in the solid structure. We conclude with a comparison of deterministic and stochastic permeabilities which suggests the importance of incorporating stochastic descriptions of the permeability of the mushy zone in solidification modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSolidification and Gravity V
PublisherTrans Tech Publications Ltd
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)0878492909, 9780878492909
StatePublished - 2010
Event5th International Conference on Solidification and Gravity - Miskolc-Lillafured, Hungary
Duration: Sep 4 2008Sep 5 2008

Publication series

NameMaterials Science Forum
ISSN (Print)0255-5476
ISSN (Electronic)1662-9752


Other5th International Conference on Solidification and Gravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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