The SFB 1313 Girls’ Day workshop “Simulations for Environmental Protection” was a great success. Eight pupils from different regions and schools (class 8 to 10) participated in the workshop and got an exclusive insight view into the world of porous media and simulations.
The workshop explained what happens if the natural underground is contaminated with pollutants such as pesticides or road salt, what the research on porous media has to do with environmental protection and why simulations play a major role. To understand the complex connection, the girls firstly learned what porous media are and where they can find them in our everyday lives. They looked closer to them during experiments showing their physical properties, such as porosity, absorptive capacity (capillary forces), and permeability. With the help of the last experiment (transport in the porous medium “soil”, img. 6), they found out about flow processes and how polluted water migrates through different layers of a soil cross section.
In order to understand why simulations are so important in this research area, they finally worked with a computational model with which they could change various parameters in order to understand flow processes in porous media. Simulations make the invisible visible. As real experiments are very expensive and as ground drilling at a depth of two kilometres is not easy, we need simulations to understand complex processes.
At the end of the workshop, the girls got a guided tour through the experimental hall of the Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems (VEGAS), where the researchers carry out real experiments.
The workshop was organized by SFB 1313 and the Department of Stochastic Simulation and Safety Research for Hydrosystems (LS3).