Fluids and Porous Materials
The research focuses on the rich pallet of physical interactions of fluids and porous media at different spatial and temporal scales.
We look at phenomena ranging from nano‐ to macroscale, how these phenomena find their origin at lower scales and are transformed/translated to higher spatial scales. The phenomena range from very short time scales when considering e.g. turbulent air flow above porous materials to long time scales when exploring sorption hysteresis in wooden components.
More fundamental part of the research aims at unrevealing the different physical phenomena at play, with a special attention to their multiple interactions: fluid (gas and/or liquid) transport at different pore scales and its coupling to heat transport, phase change between liquid and gas, mechanical and sorption hysteresis behavior, coupling to mechanical processes such as swelling - shrinkage, stiffness and strength changes, surface phenomena such as droplet impact on porous substrates, film forming and run‐off.
The more applied research covers special applications such as convective industrial drying, hygrothermal behavior of retrofitted building envelopeor drying of colloids in porous media in collaboration (IBM Research Zurich).
Bridging from research to society is one of the missions of Empa and such innovation and knowledge transfer are the drive of my applied research in the research group
Methods and Approach
Our scientific approach is based on the coupling of advanced experimental and computational methods.
Advanced imaging using neutron, X-ray and ESEM, documents the fluid–porous interactions in the material at different scales, providing essential insights for understanding of the phenomena at play.
Theoretical and computational modeling, such as MD, LBM, CFD and FEM, provides the capability to determine material properties from experiments using inverse identification, to design optimal experiments and to explore new pathways for material development and technology innovation.