Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 1659–1670 | Cite as

Time-resolved 3D visualization of air injection in a liquid-saturated refractive-index-matched porous medium

  • Xiang-Zhao Kong
  • Markus Holzner
  • Fritz Stauffer
  • Wolfgang Kinzelbach
Research Article


The main goal of this work is to implement and validate a visualization method with a given temporal/spatial resolution to obtain the dynamic three-dimensional (3D) structure of an air plume injected into a deformable liquid-saturated porous medium. The air plume develops via continuous air injection through an orifice at the bottom of a loose packing of crushed silica grains. The packing is saturated by a glycerin-water solution having the same refractive index and placed in a rectangular glass container. By using high-speed image acquisition through laser scanning, the dynamic air plume is recorded by sequential tomographic imaging. Due to the overlap between adjacent laser sheets and the light reflection, air bubbles are multiply exposed in the imaging along the scanning direction. Four image processing methods are presented for the removal of these redundant pixels arising from multiple exposure. The respective results are discussed by comparing the reconstructed air plume volume with the injected one and by evaluating the morphological consistency of the obtained air plume. After processing, a 3D dynamic air flow pattern can be obtained, allowing a quantitative analysis of the air flow dynamics on pore-scale. In the present experimental configuration, the temporal resolution is 0.1 s and the spatial resolution is 0.17 mm in plane and about 1 mm out of plane of the laser sheet.


Porous Medium Light Sheet Scanning Direction Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging Granular Packing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Toni Blunschi for his help with the experimental setup, and Beat Lüthi and Klaus Hoyer for their helpful suggestions and discussions. This work is supported by ETH Research Grant TH-2606-1.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang-Zhao Kong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Markus Holzner
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fritz Stauffer
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Kinzelbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Engineering ETH-ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Max Planck Institut für Dynamik und SelbstorganisationGöttingenGermany

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