Laboratory validation of lattice Boltzmann method for modeling pore-scale flow in granular materials
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Characteristics of fluid flow through various engineering structures, such as granular filters and asphalt pavements, influence their design life. Numerical simulation of fluid flow is useful for evaluating the hydraulic characteristics of these materials. Among various techniques, the lattice Boltzmann (LB) method is widely accepted due to the ease of implementing boundary conditions and the numerical stability in a wide variety of flow conditions. It has proven to be extremely efficient in the simulation of fluid flow through the complex geometries of granular materials. In this study, two-dimensional and three-dimensional LB models were developed to represent pore-scale monophasic Newtonian incompressible fluid flow in granular materials. Three-dimensional geometries of compacted aggregates and asphalt specimens were generated from X-ray Computed Tomography technique and used as input for the LB model. The accuracy of the models was verified by comparing the results with analytical solutions of simple geometries and hydraulic conductivity measurements on the compacted aggregates and hot mix asphalt specimens. The results of LB simulations were in excellent agreement with those obtained from analytical calculations and laboratory measurements. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.