Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday April 20, 2023 11:00 AM

Porous Media Flow and Reactive Transport Phenomena: Accounting for the Underlying Structural Heterogeneity

Speaker: Veronica L. Morales, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis
Location: Gates-Thomas 135

Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar Series

Title: Porous Media Flow and Reactive Transport Phenomena: Accounting for the Underlying Structural Heterogeneity

Abstract: Accurately describing the flow and mass transport in porous media is central to many environmental applications spanning groundwater hydrology, oil recovery and geotechnics. Flow and transport phenomena significantly differ between structurally homogeneous and heterogeneous porous media. The intricacies of the pore-space give rise to convoluted flow paths and broadened fluid velocity distributions, which in turn causes transport to become anomalous and creates reaction hotspots that are difficult to predict. To this end, this talk will discuss work carried out to understand large-scale behavior as the collective phenomenon resulting from pore-scale interactions between fluid/solute particles and the medium's heterogeneities. The first part of the talk recasts flow resistance as a graph-theory problem. Through this we learn where and why preferential flow paths form based on information about the underlying pore-structure. The second part of the talk discusses the controls for rock dissolution during acid injection. This work sheds light on the domino effect that flow, transport and mixing have on reaction outcomes, and presents a predictive model that accurately describes reaction-rate inhibition and reaction-hotspot formation.

Bio: Veronica Morales's research focuses on the physics of flow and reactive transport in porous media with a keen interest in understanding how particles move and interact in confined spaces. She joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 2017 and is the recipient of an NSFCAREER award and the AGU Early Career Award. Previously, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Environmental Fluid Mechanics lab at ETH Z├╝rich (CH) and the Soil Physics group at the SIMBIOS Centre (UK). She holds a PhD in Biological & Environmental Engineering from Cornell University (2011), and dual Bachelor's degrees in Environmental Science and Spanish Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2004).

NOTE: At this time, in-person Mechanical and Civil Engineering Lectures are open to all Caltech students/staff/faculty/visitors.

Series Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar Series

Contact: Stacie Takase at (626) 395-3389
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