Time consumption in calculations of the hydraulic and geometrical tortuosity in granular beds

Wojciech Sobieski

Amir Raoof

Alraune Zech


Tortuosity is one of the most elusive parameters of porous media due to its subjective estimation. Here, we compare two approaches for obtaining the tortuosity in granular porous media to investigate their capabilities and limitations. First, we determine the hydraulic tortuosity based on the calculated components of the velocity field obtained from flow simulations using the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM). Second, we directly determine the geometric tortuosity by making use of the Path Tracking Method (PTM) which only requires the geometric properties of the porous medium. In both cases, we apply the same geometrical structure which is a virtually generated 3D granular bed using the discrete element method consisting of 50 particles. Our results show that the direct PTM is much faster and more precise than the indirect approach based on the calculated velocity field. Therefore, PTM may provide a tool for calculating tortuosity for large 3D granular systems where indirect methods are limited due to the required computational power and time. While LBM considers various routes across the porous media implicitly, PTM identifies them explicitly. As a result, PTM requires a statistical post-processing. As an advantage, this can provide further information than just domain scale average values.


granular porous media, geometric tortuosity, hydraulic tortuosity, Path Tracking Method, Discrete Element Method, Lattice Boltzmann Method

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Cited by

Sobieski, W., Raoof, A., & Zech, A. (2020). Time consumption in calculations of the hydraulic and geometrical tortuosity in granular beds. Technical Sciences, 23(1), 25–51. https://doi.org/10.31648/ts.5449

Wojciech Sobieski 

Amir Raoof 

Alraune Zech 


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