Picture of wind turbine against blue sky

Open Access research with a real impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

The Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) within Strathclyde's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is producing Open Access research that can help society deploy and optimise renewable energy systems, such as wind turbine technology.

Explore wind turbine research in Strathprints

Explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research content

Natural convection and the evolution of a reactive porous medium

Ritchie, Lindsey Thomson and Pritchard, David (2011) Natural convection and the evolution of a reactive porous medium. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 673. pp. 286-317. ISSN 0022-1120

[img]
Preview
PDF
FLMdownload.pdf - Final Published Version

Download (7MB) | Preview

Abstract

We describe a mathematical model of buoyancy-driven flow and solute transport in a saturated porous medium, the porosity and permeability of which evolve through precipitation and dissolution as a mineral is lost or gained from the pore fluid. Imposing a vertically varying equilibrium solubility creates a density gradient which can drive convective circulation. We characterise the onset of convection using linear stability analysis, and explore the further development of the coupled reaction–convection system numerically. At low Rayleigh numbers, the effect of the reaction–permeability feedback is shown to be destabilising through a novel reaction–diffusion mechanism; at higher Rayleigh numbers, the precipitation and dissolution have a stabilising effect. Over longer time scales, reaction–permeability feedback triggers secondary instabilities in quasi-steady convective circulation, leading to rapid reversals in the direction of circulation. Over very long time scales, characteristic patterns of porosity emerge, including horizontal layering as well as the development of vertical chimneys of enhanced porosity. We discuss the implications of these findings for more comprehensive models of reactive convection in porous media.