Thermosolutal convection in an evolving soluble porous medium

Corson, Lindsey T. and Pritchard, David (2017) Thermosolutal convection in an evolving soluble porous medium. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 832. pp. 666-696. ISSN 0022-1120

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    Abstract

    We describe a mathematical model of double-diffusive (thermosolutal) convection in a saturated porous layer, when the solubility of the solute depends on temperature, and the porosity and permeability of the porous medium evolve through dissolution and precipitation. We present the results of linear and weakly nonlinear stability analyses and explore the longer-term development of the system numerically. When the solutal concentration gradient is destabilising, the dynamics are somewhat similar to those previously found for single-species convection [Ritchie & Pritch ard, J. Fluid Mech. 673: 286–317, 2011], including the occurrence of subcritical instabilities driven by a reaction– diffusion mechanism. However, when the solutal concentration gradient is stabilising and the thermal gradient is destabilising, novel dynamics emerge. These include a vertical segregation of circulation cells and porosity perturbations near the onset of convection, and over longer timescales the formation of a low-permeability region in the middle of the layer, pierced by occasional high-permeability channels. Under these conditions, convection may die away to nearly zero for extended periods before resuming vigorously in localised regions at later times.