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Modelling Porous Media: From Images to Numerical Simulations
A tremendous progress in image-based characterization have been achieved in recent years. X-Ray Computed Tomography (XRCT), for instance, allows us to investigate the morphology of porous materials like foams, sedimentary rocks, or trabecular bones with sub-micrometer resolution even with desktop devices in university laboratories. Additionally, the often complex transient behavior of coupled processes, like drainage-imbibition phenomena in partially saturated media, could be visualized and characterized in three spatial dimensions. Synchrotron-based XRCT even allows for the acquisition of three dimensional data sets of such immiscible multi-phase flow processes within seconds. Furthermore, post-processed (segmented) XRCT data sets build the basis of boundary value problems for subsequent pore-scale resolved Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) of flow, transport and deformation processes. For various questions, e.g. in geosciences, workflows based on combinations of the aforementioned image-based characterization approaches and highly efficient simulation techniques are well established in our days and applied commercially in order to predict properties of porous media like intrinsic permeability, thermal conductivity or (visco)elastic material parameters instead of performing time-consuming and often expensive experimental investigations. As image-based characterization techniques make porous materials "transparent", they allow for an insight into highly complex physical processes on the pore-scale which are often not understood on a coarser, i.e. continuum scale. Thus, these techniques serve as perfect "tools“ for scientific multi-scale methods. In combination with advanced DNS techniques, e.g. multiphase flow could be characterized for a wide range of characteristic small-scale dimensional numbers like capillary and Reynolds number or mobility ratio. Subsequent up-scaling techniques could be applied to derive more sophisticated and physics-based continuum models. In the current presentation, we are aiming for a discussion of various challenging examples in the mentioned multi-X field. Therefore, physical experiments combined with image-based characterization techniques (XRCT, micro-fluidics etc.) will be discussed for various challenges in porous media and resulting coarse-grained continuum models will be presented.