Upscaling mixing in porous media from an experimental quantification of pore scale Lagrangian deformation statistics
Abstract:As dissolved chemical elements are transported in the subsurface, their mixing with other compounds and potential reactivity depends on the creation of local scale chemical gradients, which ultimately drive diffusive mass transfer and reaction. The distribution of concentration gradients is in turn shaped by the spatial gradients of flow velocity arising from the random distribution of solid grains. We present an experimental investigation of the relationship between the microscale flow stretching properties and the effective large scale mixing dynamics in porous media. We use a flow cell that models a horizontal quasi two-dimensional (2D) porous medium, the grains of which are cylinders randomly positioned between two glass plates [de Anna et al. 2013]. In this setup, we perform both non diffusive and diffusive transport tests, by injecting respectively microsphere solid tracers and a fluorescent dye. While the dye front propagates through the medium, it undergoes in time a kinematic stretching that is controlled by the flow heterogeneity, as it encounters stagnation zones and high velocity channels between the grains. The spatial distribution of the dye can then be described as a set of stretched lamellae whose rate of diffusive smoothing is locally enhanced by kinematic stretching [Le Borgne et al., 2013]. We show that this representation allows predicting the temporal evolution of the mixing rate and the probability distribution of concentration gradients for a range of Peclet numbers. This upscaling framework hence provides a quantification of the dynamics of effective mixing from the microscale Lagrangian velocity statistics.
 P. de Anna, J. Jimenez-Martinez, H. Tabuteau, R. Turuban, T. Le Borgne, M. Derrien,and Yves Méheust, Mixing and reaction kinetics in porous media : an experimental pore scale quantification, Environ. Sci. Technol. 48, 508-516, 2014.
 Le Borgne, T., M. Dentz, E. Villermaux, Stretching, coalescence and mixing in porous media, Phys. Rev. Lett., 110, 204501 (2013)