The transverse permeability for creeping flow through unidirectional random arrays of fibers with various structures is revisited theoretically and numerically using the finite element method (FEM). The microstructure at various porosities has a strong effect on the transport properties, like permeability, of fibrous materials. We compare different microstructures (due to four random generator algorithms) as well as the effect of boundary conditions, finite size, homogeneity and isotropy of the structure on the macroscopic permeability of the fibrous medium. Permeability data for different minimal distances collapse when their minimal value is subtracted, which yields an empirical macroscopic permeability master function of porosity. Furthermore, as main result, a microstructural model is developed based on the lubrication effect in the narrow channels between neighboring fibers. The numerical experiments suggest a unique, scaling power law relationship between the permeability obtained from fluid flow simulations and the mean value of the shortest Delaunay triangulation edges (constructed using the centers of the fibers), which is identical to the averaged second nearest neighbor fiber distances. This universal lubrication relation, as valid in a wide range of porosities, accounts for the microstructure, e.g. hexagonally ordered or disordered fibrous media. It is complemented by a closure relation that relates the effective microscopic length to the packing fraction.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Jul 2012|