Application of infrared thermography for temperature distributions in fluid-saturated porous media

Muhammad Imran, Hamid Nick, Ruud J. Schotting

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    Infrared thermography has increasingly gained importance because of environmental and technological advancements of this method and is applied in a variety of disciplines related to non-isothermal flow. However, it has not been used so far for quantitative thermal analysis in saturated porous media. This article suggests infrared thermographic approach to obtain the entire surface temperature distribution(s) in water-saturated porous media. For this purpose, infrared thermal analysis is applied with in situ calibration for a better understanding of the heat transfer processes in porous media. Calibration is achieved with a combination of invasive sensors which are inserted into the medium and non-invasive thermal sensors in which sensors are not inserted to measure temperatures but it works through the detection of infrared radiation emitted from the surface. Thermocouples of relatively thin diameter are used to minimize the disturbance for flow. Thermocouples give the temperature values at specified positions inside the porous medium, and these values are compared with the values suggested by the infrared thermographic device at the same positions, in the calibration exercise. The calibration process was repeated for different temperatures and flow rates to get the temperature distributions of the whole material inside the system. This technique enables us to measure accurate two-dimensional temperature distributions, which is not possible by using thermocouples only. Continuous point heat sources at different flow rates and temperatures are studied experimentally. Additionally, it offers numerical simulations of the experiments utilizing a finite element-based model. A two-dimensional density and viscosity-dependent flow and transport model accounting for thermal dispersion is utilized to simulate the experimental results. Possible small heat losses from the surface are incorporated in the model according to the properties and thickness of the Plexiglass material used for the construction of the experiment tank. The numerical results agree well with the experimental observations.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
    Issue number4
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Infrared thermography
    • Saturated porous medium
    • Temperaturemeasurement
    • Thermal dispersion


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