Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 79, Issue 2, pp 215–223 | Cite as

On the Domain of Validity of Brinkman’s Equation

  • Jean-Louis AuriaultEmail author


An increasing number of articles are adopting Brinkman’s equation in place of Darcy’s law for describing flow in porous media. That poses the question of the respective domains of validity of both laws, as well as the question of the value of the effective viscosity μ e which is present in Brinkman’s equation. These two topics are addressed in this article, mainly by a priori estimates and by recalling existing analyses. Three main classes of porous media can be distinguished: “classical” porous media with a connected solid structure where the pore surface S p is a function of the characteristic pore size l p (such as for cylindrical pores), swarms of low concentration fixed particles where the pore surface is a function of the characteristic particle size l s , and fiber-made porous media at low solid concentration where the pore surface is a function of the fiber diameter. If Brinkman’s 3D flow equation is valid to describe the flow of a Newtonian fluid through a swarm of fixed particles or fibrous media at low concentration under very precise conditions (Lévy 1983), then we show that it cannot apply to the flow of such a fluid through classical porous media.


Darcy’s law Brinkman’s equation Effective viscosity Domain of validity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Sols Solides Structures (3S)UJF, INPG, CNRS, Domaine UniversitaireGrenoble CedexFrance

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