Natural convection and the evolution of a reactive porous medium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

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.
LanguageEnglish
Pages286-317
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume673
Early online date17 Feb 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2011

Fingerprint

Natural convection
free convection
Porous materials
Porosity
porosity
permeability
convection
Dissolution
Rayleigh number
Feedback
Solute transport
Linear stability analysis
Chimneys
dissolving
buoyancy-driven flow
Buoyancy
chimneys
Minerals
Solubility
Mathematical models

Keywords

  • fluid mechanics
  • porus medium
  • natural convection
  • geophysical flows
  • geological flows

Cite this

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title = "Natural convection and the evolution of a reactive porous medium",
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.",
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Natural convection and the evolution of a reactive porous medium. / Ritchie, Lindsey Thomson; Pritchard, David.

In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 673, 24.04.2011, p. 286-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Ritchie, Lindsey Thomson

AU - Pritchard, David

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N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - fluid mechanics

KW - porus medium

KW - natural convection

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KW - geological flows

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