Yielding to percolation: a universal scale

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A theoretical and computational study analysing the initiation of yield-stress fluid percolation in porous media is presented. Yield-stress fluid flows through porous media are complicated due to the nonlinear rheological behaviour of this type of fluid, rendering the conventional Darcy type approach invalid. A critical pressure gradient must be exceeded to commence the flow of a yield-stress fluid in a porous medium. As the first step in generalising the Darcy law for yield-stress fluids, a universal scale based on the variational formulation of the energy equation is derived for the critical pressure gradient which reduces to the purely geometrical feature of the porous media. The presented scaling is then validated by both exhaustive numerical simulations (using an adaptive finite element approach based on the augmented Lagrangian method), and also the previously published data. The considered porous media are constructed by randomised obstacles with various topologies; namely square, circular and alternatively polygonal obstacles which are mimicked based on Voronoi tessellation of circular cases. Moreover, computations for the bidispersed obstacle cases are performed which further demonstrate the validity of the proposed universal scaling.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024


  • plastic materials
  • porous media


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