Flow and fracture in water-saturated, unconstrained granular beds

Germán Varas, Gabriel Ramos, Jean Christophe Géminard, Valérie Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The injection of gas in a liquid-saturated granular bed gives rise to a wide variety of invasion patterns. Many studies have focused on constrained porous media, in which the grains are fixed in the bed and only the interstitial fluid flows when the gas invades the system. With a free upper boundary, however, the grains can be entrained by the ascending gas or fluid motion, and the competition between the upward motion of grains and sedimentation leads to new patterns. We propose a brief review of the experimental investigation of the dynamics of air rising through a water-saturated, unconstrained granular bed, in both two and three dimensions. After describing the invasion pattern at short and long time, a tentative regime-diagram is proposed. We report original results showing a dependence of the fluidized zone shape, at long times, on the injection flow rate and grain size. A method based on image analysis makes it possible to detect not only the fluidized zone profile in the stationary regime, but also to follow the transient dynamics of its formation. Finally, we describe the degassing dynamics inside the fluidized zone, in the stationary regime. Depending on the experimental conditions, regular bubbling, continuous degassing, intermittent regime or even spontaneous flow-to-fracture transition are observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - 19 Jun 2015


  • Fluidization
  • Fracture
  • Granular media
  • Patterns
  • Saturated beds
  • Three-phase flows


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