Theoretical derivation of Darcy's law

S. P. Neuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Darcy's law for anisotropic porous media is derived from the Navier-Stokes equation by using a formal averaging procedure. Particular emphasis is placed upon the proof that the permeability tensor is symmetric. In addition, it is shown that there is a one-to-one relationship between the local and macroscopic velocity fields. This leads to the interesting phenomenological observation that the local velocity vector at any given point must always lie either on a fixed line or in a fixed plane. All of this holds true for an incompressible homogeneous Newtonian fluid moving slowly through a rigid porous medium with uniform porosity under isothermal and steady state conditions. The question whether Darcy's law is applicable under nonsteady or compressible flow conditions, or when the medium has nonuniform porosity, is also discussed. Finally, it is shown that the Hagen-Poiseuille equation, as well as the expression describing Couette flow between parallel plates, can be derived from the equations presented in this work and may thus be viewed as special cases of Darcy's law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-170
Number of pages18
JournalActa Mechanica
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Theoretical derivation of Darcy's law'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this