GeoChemFoam: Direct modelling of flow and heat transfer in micro-CT images of porous media

Julien Maes*, Hannah P. Menke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


GeoChemFoam is an open-source OpenFOAM-based numerical modelling toolbox that includes a range of custom packages to solve complex flow processes including multiphase transport with interface transfer, single-phase flow in multiscale porous media, and reactive transport with mineral dissolution. In this paper, we present GeoChemFoam’s novel numerical model for simulation of conjugate heat transfer in micro-CT images of porous media. GeoChemFoam uses the micro-continuum approach to describe the fluid-solid interface using the volume fraction of fluid and solid in each computational cell. The velocity field is solved using Brinkman’s equation with permeability calculated using the Kozeny-Carman equation which results in a near-zero permeability in the solid phase. Conjugate heat transfer is then solved with heat convection where the velocity is non-zero, and the thermal conductivity is calculated as the harmonic average of phase conductivity weighted by the phase volume fraction. Our model is validated by comparison with the standard two-medium approach for a simple 2D geometry. We then simulate conjugate heat transfer and calculate heat transfer coefficients for different flow regimes and injected fluid analogous to injection into a geothermal reservoir in a micro-CT image of Bentheimer sandstone and perform a sensitivity analysis in a porous heat exchanger with a random sphere packing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1947
Number of pages11
JournalHeat and Mass Transfer
Issue number11
Early online date28 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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