The paper considers multiple successive imbibitions of a porous medium due to capillary forces in microgravity. Such studies are of great importance both for space and Earth technologies. For example, on space stations liquid flows due to capillary effects can be observed in heat pipes, purification systems, and hydroponic plant growing systems growing plants. Under the Earth’s gravity, capillary phenomena significantly affect seepage flows (e.g., in hydrocarbon production) when several fluids flow simultaneously through a porous medium.
Observing capillary effects under normal gravity is difficult because gravity dominates over capillary forces, masking some key aspects. This paper discusses experimental studies of liquid flows through a highly permeable porous medium during parabolic flights. The results show that with each subsequent parabola arc, the liquid rises higher, i.e. there is more intensive imbibition in the already wetted medium. To simulate such processes, special models are required to consider hysteresis. The paper covers such models and presents the simulation results. The experimental data and simulation of seepage fluid flows are compared. Unknown empirical constants can be estimated experimentally.
Barenblatt G. I., Entov V. M., Ryzhik V. M. Theory of Fluids Flows through Natural Rocks. Springer Netherlands; 1990.
Bear J., Bachmat Y. Introduction to Modelling of Transport Phenomena in Porous Media. Kluwer Academic Publishers-Dordrecht, Boston, London, 1990.
Kaviany M. Principles of Heat Transfer in Porous Media. Second Ed. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1995.
Nield D. A., Bejan A. Convection in Porous Media. Springer-Verlag, New York, Berlin, Heidelberg, London, 1992.
Smirnov N. N., Dushin V. R., Nikitin V. F., Phylippov Yu. G., Nerchenko V. A. Three-Dimensional Convection and Unstable Displacement of Viscous Fluids from Strongly Encumbered Space. Acta Astronautica. 2010;66:844-863.
Dushin V. R., Smirnov N. N., Nikitin V. F., Skryleva E. I., Weisman Y. G. Multiple Capillary-Driven Imbibition of a Porous Medium under Microgravity Conditions: Experimental Investigation and Mathematical Modeling. Acta Astronautica. 2022;193:572-578. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.06.054.
Kolenkina E. I., Nikitin V. F., Dushin V. R., Smirnov N. N., Shamina A. A., Weisman Yu. G. Microgravity Investigation of Capillary-Driven Imbibition into an Inhomogeneous Porous Medium. Proceedings of 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) – The CyberSpace Edition, 12-14 October 2020. IAC-20,A2,2,3,x57771.
Istasse E. Determination of Capillary Characteristics in Porous Media. Université Libre de Bruxelles, Faculté des Sciences Appliquées, Mémoire présenté par Eric Istasse en vue de l’obtention du Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies en Sciences Appliquées, Directeur: Prof. J.C. Legros., Année Académique 2000-2001, Brussels 2001.