Grain-scale modeling of arbitrary fluid saturation in random packings


We propose a model for increasing liquid saturation in a granular packing, which can account for liquid redistribution at saturation levels beyond the well-studied capillary bridge regime. The model is capable of resolving and combining capillary bridges, menisci, and fully saturated pores to form local liquid clusters of any shape. They can exchange volume due to the local Laplace pressure gradient via a liquid film on the surfaces of grains. Local instabilities such as Haines jumps trigger the discontinuous evolution of the liquid front. The applicability of the model is demonstrated and compared to benchmark experiments on the level of individual liquid structures as well as on larger systems.

Physical Review E