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Abstract

A low-cost, noninvasive, three-dimensional (3D), particle tracking velocimetry system was designed and built to investigate particle movement in match-index-refraction porous media. Both a uniform load of the glass beads of the same diameter and a binary load of the glass beads of two diameters were used. The purpose of the experiments is to study the effect of the two loads on the trajectories, velocity distribution, and spreading of small physical particles. A total of 35 particles were released and tracked in the uniform load and 46 in the binary load. The 3D trajectory of each particle was recorded with two video camcorders and analyzed. It is found that the particle’s velocity, trajectory, and spreading are very sensitive to its initial location and that the smaller pore size or heterogeneity in the binary load increases the particles’ velocity and enhances their spreading as compared with the uniform load. The experiments also verified the previous finding that the distribution of the particle velocities are lognormal in the longitudinal direction and Gaussian in two transverse directions and that the particle spreading is much larger along the longitudinal direction than along the traverse directions.