The effect of microstructure on the permeability of metallic foams
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Pressure drop was measured across complex and simple structure metallic foams at different velocity ranges using air as working fluid. Darcian and non-Darcian permeability parameters, K and C, were determined by fitting experimental data with widely accepted quadratic model of Hazen-Dupuit-Darcy. Generally, the experimental results are in good agreement with the model. The differences in K and C values between the two types of metallic foams are due to the different microstructure. For the simple structure specimens, permeability K increased whereas non-Darcian permeability C decreased with increasing pore diameter. The effect of pore size on the permeability of complex structure metallic foams seems to be opposite to that observed with the simple structure specimens and to results reported by other researchers on other porous medium. This discrepancy mainly stems from the differences in window concentration in addition to some heterogeneity in the foam that impeded the gas flow on one side of the specimens. The difference in pressure drop observed in the different metallic foams is due to combined effect of K and C. However, for simple structure foams, K and C could be predicted by Ergun-like model using appropriate values for the empirical constants. The permeability K is significantly affected by pore size and porosity. The quadratic term of Hazen-Dupuit-Darcy equation is mainly due to the inertia of the flow and partially to the drag exerted by the microstructure of the metallic foam. For both foams, as the porosity increases, pressure drop decreases and permeability, K, increases. The introduction of the open cross sectional area term enabled better understanding of the permeability of metallic foams with intricate morphologies.
KeywordsFoam Porous Medium Pressure Drop Aluminum Foam Relative Standard Deviation
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support received from NSERC and NATEQ. The authors would also like to thank NRC-IMI, Boucherville, Quebec, Canada and RECEMAT International, Netherlands for providing the samples.
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