Porous Media and its Applications in Science, Engineering and Industry

January 24, 2007

A very successful first Conference on Porous Media and its Applications in Science, Engineering and Industry was held in 1996 in Kona, Hawaii. It was attended by various researchers in porous media worldwide. This meeting will build on this conference, so that it reflects the research done internationally in the currently active areas of the topic.

The pioneering works in the area of fluid transport as well as some aspects of heat transport in porous media go back to the beginning of this century. Convective heat transfer in fluid-saturated porous media has gained considerable attention in recent decades due to its relevance in a wide range of applications such as thermal insulation engineering, water movements in geothermal reservoirs, heat pipes, underground spreading of chemical waste, nuclear waste repository, geothermal engineering, grain storage and enhanced recovery of petroleum reservoirs. Radiative heat transfer and multiphase transport processes in porous media, both with and without phase change, have gained extensive attention in recent years. This is due to the wide range of applicability of these research areas in contemporary technology. These applications include, but are not restricted to, areas such as geothermal engineering, building thermal insulation, chemical catalytic reactors, packed cryogenic microsphere insulation, petroleum reservoirs, direct contact heat exchangers, coal combustors, nuclear waste repositories, and heat pipe technology.

Several applications related to porous media require a detailed analysis of convective heat transfer in different geometrical shapes, orientations and configurations. Based on the specific applications, the flow in the porous medium may be internal or external. Most of the studies in porous media carried out until the past two decades are based on the Darcy flow model, which in turn is based on the assumption of creeping flow through an infinitely extended uniform medium. However, it is now generally recognized that non-Darcian effects are quite important for certain applications. Different models have been introduced for studying and accounting for such non-Darcian effects as the inertial, boundary, and variable porosity effects. The ultimate goal of studies in convective heat transfer in porous media is to determine the dimensionless heat transfer coefficient, the Nusselt number. A considerable amount of research has been carried out to accomplish this, and empirical correlations for the Nusselt number for a variety of configurations and boundary conditions have been established, with certain limitation, of a wide variety of current technological applications. Many industrial operations in the areas of chemical and metallurgical engineering involve the passage of a fluid stream through a packed bed of particulate solids to obtain extended solid fluid interfacial areas or good fluid mixing. Typical examples of applications involving such systems include catalytic and chromatographic reactions, packed absorption and distillation towers, ion exchange columns, packed filters, pebble-type heat exchanger, petroleum reservoirs, geothermal operations and many others. The design of these systems is decided by mechanisms of pressure drop, fluid flow and heat and mass transfer governing the process in the packed bed arrangement. Considerable attention has been paid to the aforementioned aspects because of their direct influence on the optimization and stability of the design of these systems.

Developments in modeling transport phenomena in porous media have advanced several pertinent areas, such as biology. As such the conference will also entertain papers related to bio transport in porous media as well as research related to turbulent modeling in porous media.

Sessions are envisioned on: There will also be special sessions on Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Coupling in Geomaterials, Flow and Transport in Industrial Porous Media, and Porous Media Applied to Marine and Environmental Problems.

This conference is supported by the National Science Foundation
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