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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932

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A fractal resistance model for flow through porous media


Jinsui Wu a,b, Boming Yu a,*
a
Department of Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430074, PR China
b
Department of Physics, North China Institute of Science and Technology, Yanjiao Town, Sanhe City, Hebei 06520, PR China

Received 19 September 2006; received in revised form 25 January 2007


Available online 5 April 2007

Abstract

A fractal model for resistance of flow through porous media is developed based on the fractal characters of porous media and on the
pore–throat model for capillary. The proposed model is expressed as a function of the pore–throat ratio, porosity, property of fluid,
pore/capillary and particle sizes, fluid velocity (or Reynolds number) and fractal dimensions of porous media. There is no empirical con-
stant and every parameter has clear physical meaning in the proposed model. The model predictions are compared with experiment data,
and good agreement is found between them.
Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Porous media; Fractal; Flow resistance; Laminar flow

1. Introduction fied Reynolds number (Rep = (Dpqvs/l)(1  e)1) is less


than 10 [2]. If the first term on the right side of2 Eq. (1) is
qvs
The widely employed resistance model for flow through neglected, Eq. (1) is reduced to DPL0
¼ 1:75 1e
e3 Dp
, which is
porous media was proposed by Ergun [1] in 1952. This called Burke-Plummer equation. Burke-Plummer equation
model is called Ergun equation: denotes the kinetic energy loss primarily in turbulent flow
2 and the kinetic/local energy loss dominates the pressure
DP 150lð1  eÞ vs 1  e qv2s drop when the modified Reynolds number Rep is higher
¼ þ 1:75 ð1Þ
L0 D2p e3 e3 D p than 100 [2]. The interior mechanism for the kinetic energy
loss is not well understood. Ergun equation indicates that
where DP is the pressure drop, L0 is the length along the the pressure drop across the packing length is dependent
macroscopic pressure gradient in porous media, vs is the upon the flow rate, the viscosity and density of fluid, and
superficial velocity (defined by vs = Q/A, where Q is the to- the size, shape and surface of packing materials [1]. It has
tal flow rate through a cross section of area A), l is the been shown that the pressure loss as indicated by Eq. (1)
absolute viscosity of fluid, e is the porosity, and Dp is the is obtained by adding the viscous and kinetic energy losses.
appropriate characteristic length for a medium or the equiv- Ergun equation has been hotly debated in the past decades.
alent mean diameter of particles, q is the density of fluid. Many investigators [3–10] discussed its applicability and
Eq. (1) is based on the average hydraulic radius [2]. The different empirical constants under different porosities
first term on the right side 2of Eq. (1) is called Blake-Kozeny and particles.
equation, i.e. DP
L0
¼ 150lð1eÞ
D2p e3
vs
, which represents the viscous It has been shown that the fractal geometry theory [11]
energy loss primarily in laminar flow, and pressure drop has been used as a tool in many disciplines to characterize
for flow at low speed (or low Reynolds number) is mainly irregular or disordered objects [11–13] such as coast lines,
determined by the viscous energy loss, i.e. when the modi- clouds and islands, roughness of surfaces [14–16], sand-
stone pores [17,18], fracture surfaces of metal [19], and
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 27 87542153; fax: +86 27 87543882. granular materials [20], etc. The pores and their distribu-
E-mail address: yuboming2003@yahoo.com.cn (B. Yu). tions in porous media are analogous to islands or lakes

0017-9310/$ - see front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2007.02.009
3926 J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932

on earth and to contact spots on engineering surfaces. dN


 ¼ Df kDmin
f
kðDf þ1Þ dk ¼ f ðkÞ dk ð5Þ
Therefore, it is possible to model the transport properties Nt
such as flow resistance and permeability for flow in porous
where f ðkÞ ¼ Df kDmin
f
kðDf þ1Þ is the probability density func-
media by fractal geometry theory. In the light of this point,
tion. The probability density function f(k) should satisfy
Yu et al. [21,22] proposed a fractal geometry model for per-
the following normalization relation:
meability of porous media and their model has been shown
Z kmax  D
to be suitable not only for particle porous media [21] but kmin f
also for porous fabrics [22]. Their model is analytically f ðkÞ dk ¼ 1  ¼1 ð6Þ
kmin kmax
expressed as a function of fractal dimensions (for pore
spaces and for tortuous capillaries/streamlines) and micro- As a result, Eq. (6) holds if and only if [27]
structural parameters of the media. Karacan and Halleck ðkmin =kmax Þ
Df
¼0 ð7Þ
[23] extended Yu and Cheng’s [21] model to the prediction
2
of the permeability for grain fragments. Recently, Shi et al. In general, kmin/kmax 6 10 in porous media, and Eq. (7)
[24,25] extended Yu et al.’s fractal permeability model holds approximately, thus the fractal geometry theory
[21,22] to modeling the permeability for the gas diffusion and technique can be used to analyze properties of porous
layer (GDL) of PEM fuel cells, whose pore size is in the media. In above equations, fractal dimension Df is given by
order of 105–108 m. Meng et al. [26] also applied the [27]
fractal geometry theory to model the permeation of mem- ln e
brane fouling in membrane bioreactor. The cake layer Df ¼ d E  ð8Þ
lnðkmin =kmax Þ
formed on membrane surface presents a major challenge
to membrane permeation, and it can be considered as a where dE is the Euclidean dimension, and dE = 2 (3) in two
porous media. The cake layer permeability was derived (three) dimensions.
and found to be a function of the pore-area fractal dimen- If one is interested in fractal particles, the above param-
sion and microstructural parameters. eters and equations are immediately applicable as long as
From the above brief review, it is seen that the wide appropriate changes are made, for example, changing the
applications of the fractal geometry theory in many fields porosity e into the particle volume fraction, and pore diam-
have been found. It, therefore, may be possible to develop eter k into the particle diameter, etc.
the analytical model for resistance of flow in porous media The tortuous capillaries have also been shown to follow
based on the fractal geometry theory. In this paper, we the fractal scaling law given by [21]
derive a fractal model for resistance of flow through porous
Lt ðkÞ ¼ k1DT LD0 T ð9Þ
media with particles of different shapes based on the fractal
characters of the media and on the pore–throat model for where DT is the fractal dimension for tortuous capillaries
capillary. In the following section, the fractal characters of with 1 < DT < 2 in two dimensions, representing the convo-
porous media are addressed first. luted extent of capillary pathways for fluid flow through a
porous medium, and Lt(k) is the tortuous/real length. Due
2. Fractal characters of porous media to the tortuous nature of the pore channel, Lt(k) P L0,
where L0 is the length along the macroscopic pressure gra-
It has been shown that the cumulative size distribution dient in the medium. Note that DT = 1 represents a straight
of pores in porous media follows the fractal scaling law capillary path, and a higher value of DT corresponds to a
[21,22]: highly tortuous capillary.
Df
Based on the above fractal characters of pores and tor-
N ðL P kÞ ¼ ðkmax =kÞ ð2Þ tuous capillaries in porous media, a fractal model for resis-
tance of flow in porous media is derived in the following
where k is the diameter of pores, kmax is the maximum
section.
diameter of pores, N is the cumulative population of pores
whose sizes are greater than or equal to k, and Df is the
fractal dimension for pores, with 1 < Df < 2 in two dimen- 3. Fractal model for flow resistances
sions and 2 < Df < 3 in three dimensions.
It is evident that the total number of pores, from the 3.1. The viscous energy loss along the flow path at low
smallest diameter to the largest diameter, can be obtained Reynolds numbers
from Eq. (2) as
In this model, we assume that a porous medium is com-
Df
N t ðL P kmin Þ ¼ ðkmax =kmin Þ ð3Þ prised of a bundle of tortuous capillaries. The flow rate
through a tortuous capillary is given by modifying the well
Differentiating on both sides of Eq. (2) results in
known Hagen–Poiseulle equation as [28]
dN ¼ Df kDmax
f
kðDf þ1Þ dk ð4Þ p DP 1 k4
qðkÞ ¼ ð10Þ
Dividing Eq. (4) by (3) yields 128 Lt l
J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932 3927

The total flow rate Q through a unit cell can be obtained by


integrating the individual flow rate, q(k), over the entire
range of pores/capillaries from the minimum pore size kmin
to the maximum pore size kmax. According to Eqs. (4), (9)
and (10), we have [21]
Z kmax
Q¼ qðkÞ dN ðkÞ
kmin

p Dp1 Df
¼ L1DT k3þD T
ð11Þ
128l L0 3 þ DT  Df 0 max

The total pore area Ap is related to the total cross area A by


A = Ap/e. The total pore area Ap can be obtained by
Z kmax 2 "  2Df #
pk pDf 2 kmin
Ap ¼  dN ¼ k 1
kmin 4 4ð2  Df Þ max kmax
Fig. 1. An idealized pore–throat model.
ð12Þ

Thus, the total cross area A is DT) affecting the flow resistance are not revealed. Eq. (17)
"  2Df # also indicates that the maximum pose size significantly
Ap pDf 2 kmin
A¼ ¼ k 1 ð13Þ influences the pressure drop. However, Blake-Kozeny
e 4eð2  Df Þ max kmax equation does not show this dependence. The following is
devoted to deriving a simple model for the maximum pore
Due to [27] size.
 2Df Based on the idealized pore–throat model as shown in
kmin
e¼ ð14Þ Fig. 1 for flow through porous media, the area of the unit
kmax
cell is
So, the total cross sectional area A of a unit cell perpendic-
pD2p
ular to the flow direction is S¼ ð18Þ
4ð1  eÞ
p Df 1  e 2
A¼ kmax ð15Þ The area of the pore is
4 2  Df e
 
Thus, the superficial velocity is pD2p pD2p 1
S p; max ¼S ¼ 1 ð19Þ
4 4 ð1  eÞ
1 Dp1 2  Df e
vs ¼ Q=A ¼ L1DT k1þD T
ð16Þ
32l L0 3 þ DT  Df 1  e 0 max The irregular geometry of the macro-pore area is approxi-
mated as a circular pore as
According to Eq. (16), we can get the pressure drop across
p
the length L0 along the macroscopic pressure gradient as S p; max ¼ k2max ð20Þ
4
Dp1 32lvs 3 þ DT  Df 1  e 1
¼ 1DT ð17Þ From Eqs. (19) and (20), kmax can be obtained as
L0 L0 2  Df e k1þD
max
T
rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
e
Eq. (17) depicts the pressure drop caused by the viscous en- kmax ¼ Dp ð21Þ
1e
ergy loss along the flow path. This pressure drop is linearly
proportional to the superficial velocity. Eq. (17) is similar Eq. (21) is a simple model for the maximum pore size,
to Blake-Kozeny equation, which represents the viscous which is related to porosity and the equivalent mean diam-
energy loss. Note that the empirical constant 150 in eter Dp. It is evident that if porosity e = 0, kmax = 0; if
Blake-Kozeny equation has no physical meaning and is porosity e = 1, kmax is infinity. This is consistent with the
independent of porosity. Whereas every parameter in Eq. practical situations. Eq. (21) also indicates that the maxi-
(17) has clear physical meaning, and the viscous energy loss mum pore size kmax is proportional to the mean particle
expressed by Eq. (17) depends on fluid viscosity, pore size, diameter Dp. This is also consistent with the physical situ-
fluid velocity, porosity, pore area dimension Df and the tor- ation. In Eq. (17), kmax is determined by Eq. (21).
tuosity fractal dimension DT. However, Blake-Kozeny Eq. (17) can also be written as the dimensionless form:
equation only depends on fluid viscosity, particle size, fluid 3
Dp1 qDp e3 32 3 þ DT  Df Dp
2

velocity and porosity, and some other mechanisms (such as G1 ¼ 3


¼ 1DT 1þD
Rep ð22Þ
L0 l2 ð1  eÞ L0 2  Df kmax T
pore size distribution described by the fractal dimension Df
and capillary tortuosity described by the fractal dimension where Rep = (Dpqvs/l)(1  e)1 is the Reynolds number.
3928 J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932
 
3.2. The kinetic energy loss at high Reynolds numbers 3 1 5 qv2t
DP 2 ¼ qghf ¼ þ 4 2 ð33Þ
2 b 2b 2
In Fig. 1, the ratio of pore diameter (BF + Dp = b) to
BF þD The average velocity in a straight pipe/channel is
throat diameter (BF) is defined by b, i.e. b ¼ BF p , and l
is the length of a pore–throat unit. a1 and a2 represent dL0
the cross sectional areas. v0 ¼ ð34Þ
dt
The length of a pore–throat unit is assumed to be l = b,
and based on Eq. (18), this yields Due to Eq. (9), we can get the relation between average
rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi velocity vt in a tortuous capillary and average velocity v0
pffiffiffi p
l ¼ b ¼ BF þ Dp ¼ S ¼ Dp ð23Þ in a straight capillary as follows
4ð1  eÞ
vt ¼ dLt =dt ¼ DT L0ðDT 1Þ kð1DT Þv0 ð35Þ
Thus, we obtain
rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi  Due to overlapping of particles randomly distributed in a
p
BF ¼ Dp 1 ð24Þ porous medium, the fluid passes not only through the max-
4ð1  eÞ imum macro-pores but also through the narrow channels
BF þ Dp 1 with the width of BF, and these maximum pores and the
b¼ ¼ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi ð25Þ
BF narrow channels may be in the same flow direction. Thus,
1  2 ð1eÞ p the average pore size k in Eq. (35) may be taken as
Now, we consider the kinetic/local energy loss. The loss k ¼ ðkmax þ BF Þ=2 ð36Þ
of head is expressed by [29]
X v2 Substituting Eqs. (21) and (24) into Eq. (36) yields
hf ¼ n t ð26Þ rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 
2g k ¼ ðkmax þ BF Þ ¼ Dp e
þ
p
1 ð37Þ
2 2 1e 4ð1  eÞ
where vt is the real average velocity in a throat of cross sec-
tion area a1 (see Fig. 1), and n represents the coefficient of Inserting Eq. (35) into Eq. (33) results in
kinetic/local energy loss. The coefficient for a sudden  
3 1 5 q ðD 1Þ
½DT L0 T kð1DT Þ  v20
expanding pipe/channel is [29] 2
Dp2 ¼ qghf ¼ þ  ð38Þ
 2 b4 2b2 2
a1 2
ne ¼ 1  ð27Þ
a Due to the relation between the superficial velocity vs
where a is the cross sectional area of the pore. For a sudden and the average velocity v0 , v0 ¼ vs =e, Eq. (38) is rewritten
contracting pipe/channel of cross section area a2, the coef- as
 
ficient is [29] 3 1 5 qv2s 2 ð2DT 2Þ ð22DT Þ
 Dp2 ¼ qghf ¼ þ 4 2 DT L0 k ð39Þ
a2  2 b 2b 2e2
nc ¼ 0:5 1  ð28Þ
a
Eq. (39) represents the pressure drop along a pore–throat,
So, the local loss of head caused by the sudden expanding and the pressure drop per unit length is then
pipe/channel is  
 2 2 Dp2 3 1 5 qv2s 1 2 ð2DT 2Þ ð22DT Þ
v2e 1 ve ¼ þ 4 2 DT L0 k ð40Þ
hfe ¼ ne ¼ 1 2 ð29Þ l 2 b 2b 2e2 l
2g b 2g
Eq. (40) denotes that the kinetic/local energy loss is linearly
and the local loss of head caused by the sudden contracted proportional to v2s , which (vs) as related to Eq. (16). Eq.
pipe/channel is (40) represents the kinetic energy loss and is similar to
  Burke-Plummer equation. However, Burke-Plummer equa-
1 v2 v2
hfc ¼ 0:5 1  2 c ¼ nc c ð30Þ tion contains an empirical constant 1.75, whereas there is
b 2g 2g
no empirical constant in Eq. (40), in which every parameter
Due to continuity of flow rate, we have has clear physical meaning. Eq. (40) is expressed as a func-
q ¼ a1ve ¼ a2vc ð31Þ tion of the pore–throat ratio, porosity, fluid property, pore
size, velocity, and fractal dimensions Df and DT. While
Since a1 = a2, ve ¼ vc ¼ vt . Adding Eqs. (29) and (30) re- Burke-Plummer equation does not reveal the dependences
sults in the total loss of head of the pore–throat ratio, pore size, fractal dimensions Df
  and DT on the pressure drop. Therefore, the physical prin-
v2 3 1 5 v2
hf ¼ hfe þ hfc ¼ ðn1 þ n2 Þ t ¼ þ 4 2 t ð32Þ ciples of the kinetic energy loss are clearly revealed in the
2g 2 b 2b 2g
proposed model Eq. (40).
The pressure drop across the pore–throat unit with length l Eq. (40) can also be expressed in terms of the dimension-
then is less form:
J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932 3929

2 r
ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
2 3
Dp qD3p e3
G2 ¼ 2 pffiffiffiffiffi
1 ffi
 1 þ 47 1
l l2 ð1  eÞ3 16 1 pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 1e
s¼ 6 1 þ 1  e þ 1  e p ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 7 ð46Þ
   2DT 2 24 2 1 1e 5
3 1 5 Dp e 2 L0
¼ þ  D Re2p ð41Þ
2 b4 2b2 2l ð1  eÞ T 
k
Interested readers may consult reference [30] for the gen-
eral behavior of the fractal dimension DT, and for the sen-
3.3. Total pressure drop sitivity analyses of DT on the flow resistance/permeability,
readers may consult Ref. [21].
The total pressure drop per unit length is the sum of the Eq. (43) is now rewritten as the dimensionless form,
viscous energy loss and kinetic/local energy loss along the G ¼ G1 þ G2
flow path, i.e. 2
1 32 3 þ DT  Df Dp
Dp1 Dp2 32lvs 3 þ DT  Df 1  e 1 ¼ Rep
þ ¼ 1DT /s L1D
0
T 2  Df k1þD
max
T

L0 l L0 2  Df e k1þD
max
T
   2DT 2
   2DT 2 1 3 1 5 Dp e 2 L0
3 1 5 qv2s 1 2 L0 þ 2 þ  DT  Re2p
þ þ 4 2 D ð42Þ /s 2 b4 2b2 2l ð1  eÞ k
2 b 2b 2e2 l
T 
k
ð47Þ
Eq. (42) is similar to Ergun equation (1), which has two
and Ergun equation is also be rewritten as the dimension-
empirical constants, 150 and 1.75. Whereas there is no
less form, i.e.
empirical constant in Eq. (42) and every parameter in Eq.
3
(42) has the clear physical meaning, and more physical DP qDp e3
principles are revealed in Eq. (42). ¼ 150Rep þ 1:75Re2p ð48Þ
L0 l2 ð1  eÞ3
However, in reality, not all the pores/capillaries are
spherical, so Eq. (42) is modified by introducing /s, called Fig. 2 compares the dimensionless flow resistances pre-
sphericity of particles [7], then the modified equation is dicted respectively by Eqs. (22) and (47) versus Reynolds
expressed as numbers when Rep < 10 for the spherical particles. The
results show that when Reynolds numbers Rep < 2.75, the
Dp1 Dp2 1 32lvs 3 þ DT  Df 1  e 1
þ ¼ relative error between the predicted values by the two equa-
L0 l /s L1D
0
T 2  Df e k1þD
max
T
tions is less than 10%, This means that the pressure drop is
  2  2DT 2
1 3 1 5 qvs 1 2 L0 mainly determined by the viscous energy loss Eq. (22) at
þ 2 þ 4 2 DT  low Reynolds numbers, and Eq. (22) can be a good approx-
/s 2 b 2b 2e2 l k
imation to the flow resistance at low Reynolds numbers.
ð43Þ However, at higher Reynolds numbers, Eq. (47) should
1=3 be used.
where /s ¼ ð36pV 2P =S 3P Þ [8], here VP and SP are volume
Fig. 3 compares the dimensionless flow resistances pre-
and surface area of particles, with /s = 1 for spherical par-
dicted respectively by Eqs. (41) and (47) versus the modi-
ticles and /s < 1 for other shaped particles.
fied Reynolds numbers as Rep > 220. The results show
that when the modified Reynolds numbers Rep > 220, the
4. Results and discussion

It was generally recognized that the minimum pore size


is smaller than the maximum pore size in porous media by 800
0.15
Relative error
at least two orders of magnitude. In this work we thus
Relative error

assume kmin/kmax = 102 and dmin/dmax = 102. The fractal 600


0.10

dimension D for particles can be found by modifying Eq.


0.05
(8) as
G1, G

400
lnð1  eÞ 0.00
0 1 2 3 4
D ¼ dE  ; ð44Þ Rep
lnðd min =d max Þ
200
and the fractal dimension DT for tortuous capillaries can be Eq. (47)
obtained from Eq. (9) as Eq. (22)

ln s 0
DT ¼ 1 þ ð45Þ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
lnðL0 =kÞ Rep

where 
k is determined by Eq. (37), and the tortuosity s is Fig. 2. A comparison on the dimensionless flow resistance versus Rep at
defined by s = Lt/L0 and is expressed as [30] Rep < 10, e = 0.40, Dp = 10 mm.
3930 J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932

0.20 5
6
2.4x10
2.5x10 Present model Eq. (47)
0.15
5
Relative error
Relative error
2.0x10 Ergun equation (48)
6 0.10 Experiment data
2.0x10
5
0.05 1.6x10
6
G2, G

1.5x10 0.00 5
200 400 600 800 1000 1.2x10

G
Rep
6
1.0x10 4
8.0x10
5
5.0x10 Eq. (47) 4
4.0x10
Eq. (41)
0.0 0.0
200 400 600 800 1000 1200 0 40 80 120 160 200
Rep Re p

Fig. 3. A comparison on the dimensionless flow resistance versus Rep at Fig. 5. A comparison among the present model Eq. (47), Ergun equation
Rep > 100, e = 0.40, Dp = 10 mm. (48) and experiment data for Trilobes particles [8] at e = 0.511, /s = 0.63
and Dp = 1.41 mm.

relative error between the predicted values by the two equa-


tions is less than 10%, This means that at high Reynolds
numbers the flow resistance is dominated by the kinetic/
local energy loss Eq. (41). 1000
It should be noted that Eq. (47) is the general form for Present Eq. (42)
resistance of flow through porous media. From Eq. (47) it Ergun Eq. (1)
Pressure drop (pa/m)
800 Experiment data
can be seen that the pressure drop for flow at low speed (or
at low Reynolds number) is mainly determined by the vis- 600
cous energy loss, which is represented by the first term on
the right-hand side of Eq. (47). In this case, the irregularity 400
of porous shape can be ignored. At high speed (or at high
Reynolds number) the irregularity of porous shapes has the 200
significant influence on flow resistance, and the kinetic/
local energy loss dominates the pressure drop, which is 0
mainly determined by the second term on the right-hand 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8
side of Eq. (47). Eq. (47) is similar to Ergun equation, vs (m/s)
which has two empirical constants 150 and 1.75. Whereas
Fig. 6. Pressure drop when air flows through a bed packed with glass balls
there is no empirical constant and every parameter has [31].
the clear physical meaning in Eq. (47).
Fig. 4 compares the present model predictions by Eq.
(47) with those by Ergun equation (48) and the experiment
data for beds packed with Quadralobes particles [8] of
/s = 0.593, Dp = 1.26 mm at e = 0.502. Fig. 5 compares
the present model predictions by Eq. (47) with those by
2.0x10
5 Ergun equation (48) and the experiment data [8] for beds
Present model Eq. (47) packed with Trilobes particles of different shapes of
5
Ergun equation (48)
1.6x10 Experiment data /s = 0.63, Dp = 1.41 mm at e = 0.511. Fig. 6 compares
the present model predictions (at e = 0.433) by Eq. (42)
5
1.2x10 with those by Ergun equation (1) and the experiment data
[31], which were measured for beds packed with spherical
G

4
8.0x10 particles of Dp = 10 mm and L = 0.5 m [31], L is the real
length of a porous sample. From Figs. 4–6, it can be seen
4
4.0x10 that the model predictions are in good agreement with
the experiment data with non-sphericity particles. How-
0.0 ever, Ergun equation underestimates the resistance, and
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
this may be explained that Ergun equation may only be
Re p suitable for spherical particles and for his experimental
Fig. 4. A comparison among the present model Eq. (47), Ergun equation data.
(48) and experiment data for Quadralobes particles [8] at e = 0.471, If Eq. (42) is written as the other dimensionless form, we
/s = 0.593 and Dp = 1.26 mm. obtain
J. Wu, B. Yu / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (2007) 3925–3932 3931
 
8000 Dp1 Dp2 Dp e3
Fk ¼ þ 2
7000
L0 l qv ð1  eÞ
   2DT 2
6000 1 3 1 5 Dp e L0
¼ 2 þ 4 2 D2T 
5000 /s 2 b 2b 2l ð1  eÞ k
2
1 32 3 þ DT  Df Dp
fv

4000 1
þ 1DT ð1þD Þ
ð51Þ
3000 /s L0 2  Df kmax Rep
T

2000 Present model Eq. (49) Fig. 8 compares the present model predictions by Eq. (51)
Ergun equation (50)
1000
Experiment data
with the experiment data [6] for cylindrical particles. From
0 Fig. 8 it can be found that the model predictions also pres-
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 ent good agreement with the experimental data.
Re p
5. Conclusions
Fig. 7. A comparison among the present model Eq. (49), Ergun equation
(50) and experiment data for ball particles [32] at e = 0.364, /s = 1, and
Dp = 12 mm. We have shown an analytical model for resistance of
fluid flow in porous media based on the capillary model
  and pore–throat model as well as the fractal characters of
Dp1 Dp2 D2p e3 pores and capillaries. The proposed model is expressed as
fv ¼ fv1 þ fv2 ¼ þ
L0 l lvs ð1  eÞ2 a function of the pore–throat ratio, porosity, fluid prop-
2   erty, pore/capillary and particle size, fluid velocity (or Rey-
32 3 þ DT  Df Dp 3 1 5 Dp
¼ 1DT þ þ  nolds number) and fractal characters (Df and DT) of pores
L0 2  Df ð1þDT Þ
kmax 2 b4 2b2 2l and capillaries in porous media. There is no empirical con-
 2DT 2 stant and every parameter has clear physical meaning in the
e L0
 D2T  Rep ð49Þ proposed model. The physical principles of the viscous
ð1  eÞ k
energy loss along the flow path and the kinetic energy loss
Similarly, if Ergun equation (1) is written as the other are clearly revealed. The model predictions are compared
dimensionless form, we have with experiment data, and good agreement is found
between them. The validity of the propose model is thus
DP D2p e3 verified.
¼ 150 þ 1:75Rep ð50Þ
L0 lvs ð1  eÞ2 It should be pointed out that the accuracy of the present
fractal model may crucially depends on the correct determi-
Fig. 7 compares the present model predictions by Eq. (49) nation of sphericity /s of particles, the maximum pore or
with those by Ergun equation (50) and the experiment data particle size, the ratio of kmin/kmax, and the ratio of pore
[32] for beds packed with spherical particles of to throat. Therefore, the correct determination of these
Dp = 12 mm, e = 0.364. From Fig. 7, it can be found that parameters is critical for successfully predicting the resis-
the model predictions also present much better agreement tance of flow in porous media.
with the experimental data than those by Ergun equation.
If Eq. (43) is written as Acknowledgement

10
4 This work was supported by the National Natural Sci-
Eq. (51), ε=0.41 Dp=2.82mm ence Foundation of China through Grant Number
Eq. (51), ε=0.414 Dp=2.24mm 10572052.
3
10 Experiment, ε=0.41 Dp=2.82mm
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