Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 431–453 | Cite as

Microstructure Effects on Effective Gas Diffusion Coefficient of Nanoporous Materials

  • Yangyu Guo
  • Xinting He
  • Wenzheng Huang
  • Moran WangEmail author


In this work, we develop a numerical framework for gas diffusion in nanoporous materials including a random generation-growth algorithm for microstructure reconstruction and a multiple-relaxation-time lattice Boltzmann method for solution of diffusion equation with Knudsen effects carefully considered. The Knudsen diffusion is accurately captured by a local diffusion coefficient computed based on a corrected Bosanquet-type formula with the local pore size determined by the largest sphere method. A robust validation of the new framework is demonstrated by predicting the effective gas diffusion coefficient of microporous layer and catalyst layer in fuel cell, which shows good agreement with several recent experimental measurements. Then, a detailed investigation is made of the influence on effective gas Knudsen diffusivity by many important microstructure factors including morphology category, size effect, structure anisotropy, and layering structure effect. A widely applicable Bosanquet-type empirical relation at the Darcy scale is found between the normalized effective gas diffusion coefficient and the average Knudsen number. The present work will promote the understanding and modeling of gas diffusion in nanoporous materials and also provide an efficient platform for the optimization design of nanoporous systems.


Effective diffusion coefficient Knudsen diffusion Nanoporous material Lattice Boltzmann method 



The authors appreciate helpful discussions with Prof. N. Pan. This work is financially supported by the NSF grant of China (No. U1562217) and the National Science and Technology Major Project on Oil and Gas (No. 2017ZX05013001).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering Mechanics and CNMMTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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