Complex fluid flow in porous media is ubiquitous in many natural and industrial processes. Direct visualization of the fluid structure and flow dynamics is critical for understanding and eventually manipulating these processes. However, the opacity of realistic porous media makes such visualization very challenging. Micromodels, microfluidic model porous media systems, have been developed to address this challenge. They provide a transparent interconnected porous network that enables the optical visualization of the complex fluid flow occurring inside at the pore scale. In this Review, the materials and fabrication methods to make micromodels, the main research activities that are conducted with micromodels and their applications in petroleum, geologic, and environmental engineering, as well as in the food and wood industries, are discussed. The potential applications of micromodels in other areas are also discussed and the key issues that should be addressed in the near future are proposed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- complex fluids
- multiphase flow
- porous media