Permeability Research

According to Darcy's law, fluid flow in porous media is proportional to the permeability. Accordingly, any technology involving porous media—such as groundwater remediation, aquifer storage and recovery, or geothermal energy—depends on maintenance of adequate permeability. This is why clogging, a detrimental reduction in permeability, is a fundamental problem. Among several mechanisms causing clogging, my group foc​uses on colloids, which are particles with diameters between 1 nm and 10 μm. This mechanism is important, because when colloids deposit in porous media, permeability can be reduced by up to three orders of magnitude. My group investigates the hypothesis that clogging depends on the structure of colloid deposits, called deposit morphology.

Refractive index matched (RIM) porous mediaMeasurement of colloid deposit morphology as a fractal dimension using static light scattering (SLS) in RIM porous media.
Refractive index matched (RIM) porous media. Image by Eric Roth and Ryan Tigera © 2015.Refractive index matched (RIM) porous media. Image by Eric Roth and Ryan Tigera © 2015.


Basic science aspects of our permeability research are reported in the following refereed publications:

  • Experimental measurement of clogging as a function of colloid deposit morphology (Roth et al.  2015b ). Featured on sponsor's website
  • Measurement of colloid deposit fractal dimension and radius of gyration (Roth et al.  2015a ).
  • Measurement of colloid aggregate fractal dimension in RIM porous media (Mays et al.  2011 ).
  • Contrasting clogging in granular media filters, soils, and dead-end membranes (Mays 2010).
  • Chemical effects on clogging with Na- and Ca-montmorillonite clay (Mays and Hunt 2007).
  • Hydrodynamic effects on clogging using filtration data from the literature (Mays and Hunt 2005). 115 citations on the Web of Science


The following refereed publications show the breadth of application of our permeability research:

updated 6/10/2019


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