Pores resolving simulation of Darcy flows

Piotr K. Smolarkiewicz, C. Larrabee Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A theoretical formulation and corresponding numerical solutions are presented for microscopic fluid flows in porous media with the domain sufficiently large to reproduce integral Darcy scale effects. Pore space geometry and topology influence flow through media, but the difficulty of observing the configurations of real pore spaces limits understanding of their effects. A rigorous direct numerical simulation (DNS) of percolating flows is a formidable task due to intricacies of internal boundaries of the pore space. Representing the grain size distribution by means of repelling body forces in the equations governing fluid motion greatly simplifies computational efforts. An accurate representation of pore-scale geometry requires that within the solid the repelling forces attenuate flow to stagnation in a short time compared to the characteristic time scale of the pore-scale flow. In the computational model this is achieved by adopting an implicit immersed-boundary method with the attenuation time scale smaller than the time step of an explicit fluid model. A series of numerical simulations of the flow through randomly generated media of different porosities show that computational experiments can be equivalent to physical experiments with the added advantage of nearly complete observability. Besides obtaining macroscopic measures of permeability and tortuosity, numerical experiments can shed light on the effect of the pore space structure on bulk properties of Darcy scale flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3121-3133
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Darcy flows
  • Direct numerical simulation
  • Immersed-boundary approach
  • Porous media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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