A study on pressure-driven gas transport in porous media: from nanoscale to microscale

Yoshiaki Kawagoe, Tomoya Oshima, Ko Tomarikawa, Takashi Tokumasu, Tetsuya Koido, Shigeru Yonemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Gas flow in porous media can be seen in various engineering devices such as catalytic converters and fuel cells. It is important to understand transport phenomena in porous media for improvement of the performance of such devices. Porous media with pores as small as the mean free path of gas molecules are used in such devices as proton exchange membrane fuel cells. It is difficult to measure molecular transport through such small pores in the experimental approach. In addition, even when using theoretical or numerical approaches, gas flow through nanoscale pores must be treated by the Boltzmann equation rather than the Navier–Stokes equations because it cannot be considered as a continuum. Thus, conventional analyses based on the continuum hypothesis are inadequate and the transport phenomena in porous media with nanoscale pores are not yet clearly understood. In this study, we represented porous media by randomly arranged solid spherical particles and simulated pressure-driven gas flow through the porous media by using the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method based on the Boltzmann equation. DSMC simulations were performed for different porosities and different sizes of solid particles of porous media. It was confirmed that Darcy’s law holds even in the case of porous media with micro-/nanoscale pores. Using the obtained results, we constructed expressions to estimate the pressure-driven gas transport in porous media with micro-/nanoscale pores and porosity ranging from 0.3 to 0.5. The flow velocities estimated by using the constructed expressions agreed well with those obtained in the DSMC simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1


  • Direct simulation Monte Carlo method
  • High Knudsen number flow
  • Porous media
  • Pressure-driven gas transport
  • Rarefied gas dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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