We develop a model to grasp the combined effect of rheology and spatial stratifications on two- dimensional non-Newtonian gravity-driven flow in porous media. We consider a power-law constitutive equation for the fluid, and a monomial variation of permeability and porosity along the vertical direction (transverse to the flow) or horizontal direction (parallel to the flow). Under these assumptions, similar- ity solutions are derived in semi-analytical form for thin gravity currents injected into a two-dimensional porous medium and having constant or time-varying volume. The extent and shape of the porous domain affected by the injection is significantly influenced by the interplay of model parameters. These describe the fluid (flow behaviour index n ), the spatial heterogeneity (coefficients β, γ, δ, ω for variations of per- meability and porosity in the horizontal or vertical direction), and the type of release (volume exponent α). Theoretical results are validated against two sets of experiments with α= 1 (constant inflow) con- ducted with a stratified porous medium (simulated by superimposing layers of glass beads of different diameter) and a Hele-Shaw analogue for power-law fluid flow, respectively. In the latter case, a recently established Hele-Shaw analogy is extended to the variation of properties parallel to the flow direction. Comparison with experimental results shows that the proposed model is able to capture the propagation of the current front and the current profile.
Porous gravity currents: A survey to determine the joint influence of fluid rheology and variations of medium properties / Valentina, Ciriello; Longo, Sandro Giovanni; Chiapponi, Luca; Vittorio Di, Federico. - In: ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES. - ISSN 0309-1708. - 92(2016), pp. 105-115. [10.1016/j.advwatres.2016.03.021]