PITA Fiscal Year 2010 Projects - Environmental Technologies

Modeling flow through microgel packings for use as soil additives

Principal Investigators: Craig Maloney

This project will employ discrete element modeling and computational fluid dynamics to model viscous fluid flow through mixed granular assemblies of hard particles with soft particle additives. The modeling work will complement experiments currently being performed by the group of Doug Durian at the University of Pennsylvania on flow through packings of micron sized glass spheres with additives of soft N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) microgel particles. The NIPAm particles are currently under study by Rhodia for use as soil additives to modify water storage and transport properties, and the work at UPenn is currently being supported by them. The project provides a direct economic benefit to the region in the form of support for the research interests of a local company and aids them in the design and development of commercial products.