Mechanics of fluids in porous media

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Abstract

Transport of quantities such as mass component of a phase and/or heat occurs in fields as diversified as petroleum reservoir engineering, groundwater hydraulics, soil mechanics, industrial filtration, water purification, wastewater treatment, soil drainage and irrigation, and geothermal energy production. In all these areas, scientists, engineers, and planners make use of mathematical models; these models describe the relevant transport processes that occur within controlled porous medium domains and enable forecasting of the future behavior of these domains in response to planned activities. The mathematical models, in turn, are based on the understanding of phenomena, often within the void space, and on theories that relate these phenomena to measurable quantities.

Because of the pressing needs in areas of practical interest such as the development of groundwater energy storage and geothermal energy production, a vast amount of research in all these fields has contributed, especially in the last two decades, to our understanding and ability to describe transport phenomena in porous media. In recent years these research efforts have been significantly accelerated, attracting scientists from many disciplines. The practical needs of solving boundary value problems in heterogeneous domains, irregular boundaries, coupled phenomena and multiple dependent variables led to the development of a variety of powerful numerical techniques. The realization that fields are highly heterogeneous and that the degree of heterogeneity depends on the scale of the problem led to the introduction of stochastic concepts as an additional tool for the description of phenomena.

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