Hydraulic properties of porous sintered glass bead systems

Ibrahim Gueven, Stefan Frijters, Jens Harting, Stefan Luding, Holger Steeb

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    11 Citations (Scopus)
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    In this paper, porous sintered glass bead packings are studied, using X-ray Computed Tomography (XRCT) images at 16μm voxel resolution, to obtain not only the porosity field, but also other properties like particle sizes, pore throats and the permeability. The influence of the sintering procedure and the original particle size distributions on the microstructure, and thus on the hydraulic properties, is analyzed in detail. The XRCT data are visualized and studied by advanced image filtering and analysis algorithms on to the extracted sub-systems (cubes of different sizes) to determine the correlations between the microstructure and the measured macroscopic hydraulic parameters. Since accurate permeability measurements are not simple, special focus lies on the experimental set up and procedure, for which a new innovative multi-purpose cell based on a modular concept is presented. Furthermore, segmented voxel-based images (defining the microstructure) are used for 3D (three-dimensional) lattice Boltzmann simulations to directly compute some of the properties in the creeping flow regime. A very good agreement between experimental and numerical porosity and permeability could be achieved, in most cases, validating the numerical model and results. Porosity and permeability gradients along the sample height could be related to gravity acting during sintering. Furthermore, porosity increases in the outer zones of the samples due to the different contact geometry between the beads and the confining cylinder wall during sintering (which is replaced by a membrane during permeability testing to close these pores at the surface of the sample). The influence of different filters on the gray scale distributions and the impact of the segmentation procedure on porosity and permeability is systematically studied. The complex relationships and dependencies between numerically determined permeabilities and hydraulic influence parameters are investigated carefully. In accordance to the well-known Kozeny–Carman model, a similar trend for local permeability values in dependence on porosity and particle diameter is obtained. Other than statistical models, which estimate the pore throat distribution on the basis of the particle size distribution, in this study XRCT scans are used to determine the pore throats in sintered granular systems, which are finally linked to the intrinsic permeability through the lattice Boltzmann simulations. From the μ
    XRCT analysis two distinct peaks in pore throat distributions could be identified, which can be clearly assigned to typical pore throat areas occurring in polydisperse granular systems. Moreover, a linear dependency between average pore throat diameter and porosity as well as between permeability and pore throat diameter is reported. Furthermore, almost identical mean values for porosity and permeability are found from sub-system and full-system REV analysis. For sintered granular systems, the empirical constant in the classical Kozeny–Carman model is determined to be 131, while a value of 180 is expected for perfect mono-disperse sphere packings
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGranular matter
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2017


    • Intrinsic permeability
    • Darcy's law
    • Tortuosity
    • Porosity
    • Sintered glass beads
    • mu XRCT scan
    • Lattice Boltzmann method
    • XRCT data processing
    • Image segmentation
    • REV analysis
    • Pore throat
    • Kozeny-Carman


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