Experimental Evidence of Helical Flow in Porous Media

Yu Ye, Gabriele Chiogna, Olaf A. Cirpka, Peter Grathwohl, Massimo Rolle

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Helical flow leads to deformation of solute plumes and enhances transverse mixing in porous media. We present experiments in which macroscopic helical flow is created by arranging different materials to obtain an anisotropic macroscopic permeability tensor with spatially variable orientation. The resulting helical flow entails twisting streamlines which cause a significant increase in lateral mass exchange and thus a large enhancement of plume dilution (up to 235%) compared to transport in homogenous media. The setup may be used to effectively mix solutes in parallel streams similarly to static mixers, but in porous media.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere137540
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number19
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Physics and Astronomy (all)
  • Atomic physics
  • Experimental evidence
  • Macroscopic permeability
  • Mass exchange
  • Parallel streams
  • Solute plumes
  • Static mixers
  • Transverse mixing
  • Variable orientation
  • Porous materials


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