1) Research topics:
We focus on the experimental characterization, theoretical analysis, and numerical simulation of energy and mass transfer in porous media, including flow in porous media (single-phase and multi-phase), phase transformation (transformation between gas, solid, liquid, supercritical...), interaction (mechanical, chemical, thermal, hydrological...) between porous media and pore constituents.
2) Unique features:
We explore multi-physics coupled behaviors of porous media under abnormal conditions such as low/high temperature, low/high pressure, and high stress. In-situ testing with the X-ray micro-CT technique and traditional testing methods would be used together to investigate the pore-scale mechanisms and reveal the underlying physics.
3) Targeted applications:
● Geoscience: coastal and marine energy and resources, permafrost ground, and extraterrestrial sediments.
● Geoengineering: exploitation of natural gas hydrate, and large-scale energy storage.
● Fundamental researches: multiphase flow and crystal growth in porous media, open-mode discontinuities in sediments, unsaturated soil mechanics, and dual porosity materials.
4) Featuring technology:
Dr. Lei has the experience of building a micro-CT scanner. He is familiar with X-ray related physics, reconstruction theory, 3D image processing, and image-based numerical simulations.
The design and development of instruments are encouraged. Each laboratory member has the opportunity to build a unique testing assembly on the way of exploring the unknown world.
Figure 1. Water-gas distribution in unsaturated sand (left)，
a sand sample before and after loading in a triaxial test (right).
Figure 2. Hydrate and ice lenses in fine-grained soil.
Figure 3. Methane hydrate in coarse-grained soil and its 3D visualization.
Figure 4. From 3D CT image to flow simulation.