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CFD modelling of the effect of capillary pressure on retention behaviour of water menisci at inter-particle contacts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Agostino BrunoORCiD, Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper presents a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model on the effect of capillary pressure on the retention behaviour of a granular material. The model proposes an unprecedented CFD insight into the onset of liquid menisci at the inter-particles contact under varying hydraulic conditions. The present work models the material grains as smooth spherical particles that define a porous network filled by two interstitial fluids: air and silicon oil. The numerical model has been subsequently validated against experimental measurements of the degree of saturation at different capillary pressures taken by Dullien et al. [F.A. Dullien, C. Zarcone, I.F. MacDonald, A. Collins, R.D. Bochard. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 127, 2 (1989)] in a system of smooth glass beads flooded with silicon oil. Results from the numerical simulations confirm the good capability of the model to reproduce the experimental retention behaviour of the granular material. Finally, the present paper laid the basis for future CFD studies on the effect of various factors (e.g. hydraulic hysteresis, surface roughness and/or grain shape) on the capillary pressure acting at the interparticle contact.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lopez A, Bruno AW, Nadimi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: EPJ Web of Conferences

Year: 2021

Volume: 249

Print publication date: 07/06/2021

Online publication date: 07/06/2021

Acceptance date: 07/06/2021

Date deposited: 07/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2100-014X

Publisher: EDP Sciences


DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/202124909008


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