Numerical study of the effects of particle shape and polydispersity on permeability

Xavier Garcia, Lateef T Akanji, Martin J Blunt, Stephan K Matthai, John Paul Latham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


We study through numerical simulations the dependence of the hydraulic permeability of granular materials on the particle shape and the grain size distribution. Several models of sand are constructed by simulating the settling under gravity of the grains; the friction coefficient is varied to construct packs of different porosity. The size distribution and shapes of the grains mimic real sands. Fluid flow is simulated in the resulting packs using a finite element method and the permeability of the packs is successfully compared with available experimental data. Packs of nonspherical particles are less permeable than sphere packs of the same porosity. Our results indicate that the details of grain shape and size distribution have only a small effect on the permeabilty of the systems studied.
Original languageEnglish
Article number021304
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2009


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