A Study of the Time Constant in Unsteady Porous Media Flow Using Direct Numerical Simulation

Tao Zhu, Christian Waluga, Barbara Wohlmuth, Michael Manhart

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33 Scopus citations


We consider unsteady flow in porous media and focus on the behavior of the coefficients in the unsteady form of Darcy's equation. It can be obtained by consistent volume-averaging of the Navier-Stokes equations together with a closure for the interaction term. Two different closures can be found in the literature, a steady-state closure and a virtual mass approach taking unsteady effects into account. We contrast these approaches with an unsteady form of Darcy's equation derived by volume-averaging the equation for the kinetic energy. A series of direct numerical simulations of transient flow in the pore space of porous media with various complexities are used to assess the applicability of the unsteady form of Darcy's equation with constant coefficients. The results imply that velocity profile shapes change during flow acceleration. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that the new kinetic energy approach shows perfect agreement for transient flow in porous media. The time scale predicted by this approach represents the ratio between the integrated kinetic energy in the pore space and that of the intrinsic velocity. It can be significantly larger than that obtained by volume-averaging the Navier-Stokes equation using the steady-state closure for the flow resistance term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Direct numerical simulation
  • Time scale
  • Unsteady Darcy equation
  • Unsteady porous media flow
  • Volume averaging


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