Journal of Visualization

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 49–57 | Cite as

Mass transfer caused by gravitational instability at reactive solid–liquid interfaces

  • Ryoko OtomoEmail author
  • Nobuhiko Ishii
  • Keita Takahashi
  • Shusaku Harada
Regular Paper


Mass transfer in porous media has been investigated experimentally. In this paper, we present a visualization technique and discuss the behavior of a substance which transfers under the influence of gravity and reacts with the surface of porous media. Mass transfer by the reaction with porous media was demonstrated by means of electrochemical deposition experiment on particulate beds with complex structures. A copper plate (anode) and a stainless steel particulate bed (cathode) were, respectively, placed at the upper and bottom side of a thin vertical cell which was filled with copper sulfate solution. After the application of electricity, cupric ion which is provided from the copper plate to the solution transfers under the influence of gravity and it is consumed by deposition at the particulate bed. The behavior of ions between the electrodes was visualized by utilizing the infrared absorption characteristics of cupric ion. We observed gravitational instability and convection flow due to concentration gradient of ions in opposite direction to that of gravity, which is formed by reaction at solid–liquid interfaces. While downward flow caused by Rayleigh–Taylor instability was observed in the case of flat interfaces, upward flow generated from complex-shaped interfaces was greatly dependent on their geometry. The interaction of these flows resulted in the convection throughout the cell. Consequently, it is found from the results that the gravitational instability significantly varies the transport characteristics and that the reactive interface geometry greatly affects the overall mass transfer.

Graphical Abstract


Mass transfer Reactive solid–liquid interface Porous media Gravitational instability Convection flow 



This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows 23·4066.


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Copyright information

© The Visualization Society of Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryoko Otomo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nobuhiko Ishii
    • 1
  • Keita Takahashi
    • 1
  • Shusaku Harada
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan

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