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Experimental Investigation of Flow Characteristics in Porous Media at Low Reynolds Numbers (Re→0) under Different Constant Hydraulic Heads

1
College of Geosciences and Engineering, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou 450046, China
2
Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(11), 2317; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112317
Received: 25 September 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 3 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
Understanding natural flows in porous media with low Reynolds number (Re) has significant implications for both science and engineering. However, knowledge and experimental gaps remain regarding such natural flows. In this context, we designed a sand column-based laboratory filtration experiment to investigate flow characteristics in porous media with low Re. Four media were considered including two silts (silt-I and silt-II), one silty sand, and one medium sand. Results show that constant hydraulic head is presumed to be an important factor that affects flow regime in porous media. In general, the flow approaches Darcian at a constant hydraulic head of ~170 cm, whereas it becomes non-Darcian at a constant hydraulic head of ~230 cm. The type of media determines the Re range that delimitates between Darcy and non-Darcy flows. Specifically, the transition appears at 0.015 < Re < 0.020 for medium sand and 0.000027 < Re < 0.000029 for silt-II, respectively. In the condition of constant hydraulic heads, the breakdown of Darcy’s law may occur at very low Re values (Re→0). Media dependent Re ranges are probably needed to describe the beginning of non-Darcy flows, rather than 1 to 10 or other value for all media. Findings in this study can offer insights into calculation and simulation of flows in low-permeability reservoirs, pumping process of foundation pit excavation, and other non-Darcy flows in low-permeability media. View Full-Text
Keywords: porous media; Re→0; constant hydraulic head; Darcy and non-Darcy flow; hydraulic conductivity porous media; Re→0; constant hydraulic head; Darcy and non-Darcy flow; hydraulic conductivity
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Wang, L.; Li, Y.; Zhao, G.; Chen, N.; Xu, Y. Experimental Investigation of Flow Characteristics in Porous Media at Low Reynolds Numbers (Re→0) under Different Constant Hydraulic Heads. Water 2019, 11, 2317.

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