Imaging and modelling of (reactive) fluid transport in geomaterials: from pore to continuum scale

Target group

PhD students from the Doctoral School of Natural Sciences and the Doctoral School of (Bioscience) Engineering from a number of research domains (geology, civil engineering, biology, chemistry, soil science, conservation studies, …). With our experience in multidisciplinary research and collaboration, we will provide the attendees with knowledge to improve results and avoid false conclusions from data.


-    Prof. Dr. Veerle Cnudde (UGent, WE13, UGCT-PProGRess)
-    Dr. Tim De Kock (UGent, WE13, UGCT-PProGRess)
-    Dr. Tom Bultreys (Imperial College, UK)
-    Prof. Dr. Amir Raoof (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
-    Prof. Peter Moonen (Univ Pau & Pays Adour, France)
-    Dr. Hannelore Derluyn (Univ Pau & Pays Adour, France)

Content of the course

Migration of solutes, nanoparticles, and colloids in geomaterials in general as well as in the earth subsurface is affected by a multitude of complex, interactive physical, geochemical and microbiological processes. Understanding and predicting of these processes requires visualization and simulation of them.
The visualization of the grain and pore structure in complex porous media is crucial to identify and understand flow and transport processes at the microscopic (pore) scale. Currently, a variety of advanced 3D imaging techniques are available. However, using the acquired 3D data to describe processes at the micro scale as well as their manifestation at the continuum (core and field) scale remains very challenging.
Once the 3D pore structures are characterised, a powerful approach for transferring pore-scale information to the larger scale, and establishing relationships among the scales, is pore-network modelling. This modelling approach allows to simulate flow and transport in full detail by explicitly modelling mass transfer across interfaces and mass fluxes through pores. Micro-scale hydrodynamic and reactive processes can be explicitly modelled and their effects at the larger scale can be quantified.
In view of practical applications, model formulations were derived to characterize systems at a larger scale, often in terms of parameters that are not defined at the pore scale. The standard way to overcome this difficulty is to define macroscopic variables by averaging microscopic values over a representative elementary volume (REV) in which laboratory experiments can be carried out.

Aim of the course

This course is designed to familiarize participants with the principles of several major 3D imaging techniques such as lab and synchrotron X-ray CT, FIB-SEM as well as NMR. Additionally, advanced image processing and analysis will be discussed. 3D data will be used to reconstruct the pore structure and will be the basis for numerical analyses of partially-saturated flow and coupled multi-component reactive transport, at both the pore and continuum scales. Applications to fluid flow in porous geomaterials will be discussed. The course will give an introduction to some theoretical aspects of 3D image acquisition, 3D image analysis, water flow and solute transport.

Dates and Venue

  • 4-8 September 2017
  • Location: Campus Sterre, S8, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Programme (tentative)

  • Monday 4th September 2017: 3D Image acquisition

-       9:30 –10:00: Registration and coffee
-       10:00 – 10:45: Introduction by organizers and presentation of attendees
All organizers
-       11:15 – 11:30: Short break
-       11:30 – 12:45: Lab and synchrotron based X-ray CT: part 1
Prof. Veerle Cnudde (UGCT-PProGRess)
-       12:45 – 14:00: Lunch
-       14:00 – 15:00: Lab and synchrotron based X-ray CT: part 2
Prof. Veerle Cnudde (UGCT-PProGRess)
-       15:00 – 15:30: Coffee break
-       15:30 – 17:00: NMR
Prof. Bernhard Blümich (RWTH Aachen, Germany)

  • Tuesday 5th September, 2017: Data acquisition and Post-processing

-       09:00 – 10:30: FIB-SEM, BIB-SEM, cryo-SEM
Prof. Guillaume Desbois (RWTH Aachen, Germany)
-       10:30 – 10:45: Short break
-       10:45 – 12:15: 3D visualization and advanced 3D image analysis: part 1
Dr. Michele Griffa (EMPA, Switzerland)
-       12:15 – 13:45: Lunch
-       13:45 – 15:15: 3D visualization and advanced 3D image analysis: part 2
Dr. Jan Aelterman ( IPI UGent)
-       15:15 – 15:45: Coffee break
-       15:45 – 17:15: Pitch talks by participants

  • Wednesday 6th September, 2017: Partially saturated flow and pore network modelling

-       09:00 – 10:30: Theory of partially saturated flow - Pore space representation
Prof. Rien Van Genuchten (UUtrecht, The Netherlands)
-       10:30 – 10:45: short break
-       10:45 – 12:15: Flow and tracer transport using PNM
Prof. Amir Raoof (UUtrecht, The Netherlands)
-       12:15 – 13:45: Lunch
-       13:45 – 15:15: Reactive pore scale network modelling - saturated and variably saturated conditions
Prof. Amir Raoof (UUtrecht, The Netherlands)
-       15:15 – 15:45: Coffee break
-       15:45 – 17:15: Multi-scale PNM
Dr. Tom Bultreys (Imperial College, UK)

  • Thursday 7th September, 2017: Continuum scale description and modelling of (reactive) transport in partially-saturated porous media

-       09:00 – 10:30: Hydraulic properties of unsaturated porous media
Prof. Rien Van Genuchten (UUtrecht, The Netherlands
10:30 – 10:45: short break
-       10:45 – 12:15: Moisture transport in a continuum FEM model
Prof. Peter Moonen (Univ Pau & Pays Adour, France)
-       12:15 – 13:45: Lunch
-       13:45 – 15:15: Moisture transport in a continuous-discontinuous FEM model
Prof. Peter Moonen (Univ Pau & Pays Adour, France)
-       15:15 – 15:45: Coffee break + posters
-       15:45 – 17:15: Solute transport and precipitation in building stones
Dr. Hannelore Derluyn (CNRS - Univ Pau & Pays Adour, France)

  • Friday 8th September, 2017: Advanced applications

-       09:00 – 10:30: Water transport in concrete
Dr. Michele Griffa (EMPA, Switzerland)
-       10:30 – 10:45: short break
-       10:45 – 12:15: Micro-fluidics and reactive mixing
Dr. Joaquin Jimenez-Martinez (EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland )
-       12:15 – 13:45: Lunch
-       13:45 – 15:15: Optional: visit to UGCT/city centre Ghent



Number of participants

Maximum 40 PhD students

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% active participation


Please follow this link:

Registration fee

- free for PhD students belonging to the Doctoral Schools of Natural Sciences + (Bioscience) Engineering of UGent.
- for all the other participants: a registration fee of 500 euro (including lunches and coffee breaks)