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What are porous media?

What do porous media have to do with evaporation and soil drying? Why are they important regarding the understanding of multiple sclerosis and in the treatment of osteoporosis? How do they affect energy storage? From the human body, via important technical applications to huge environmental systems: porous media are everywhere. Our SFB 1313 film gives answers.

Porous media are everywhere: an introduction

If we take a close look at ourselves and our environment, it becomes pretty visible: somehow almost everything is porous! The soil and the natural subsurface, the human body with skin and hair, various materials such as paper, asphalt or plastic are only a few examples. Whether biology, the environment or technology: porous media are everywhere!

Porous media are everywhere: the fuel cell

We also find porous media in the field of climate-friendly drive concepts. A good example is the fuel cell with its various porous layers, which is used for powering vehicles. Our explanatory film shows how it works and how simulations can help to visualize and understand hidden complex processes in the fuel cell.

Porous media are everywhere: the human upright walk

If we take a close look at ourselves, it becomes pretty visible that we humans are porous media, too. Our brain, our cells, our arteries and veins but also our bones are porous media. With age, bone density may decrease and bones may become fragile (=osteoporosis). How can this disease be treated and what role play porous media and simulations here? 

Porous media are everywhere: Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is a technology, used to produce the renewable energy source "geothermal heat". The deeper the porous underground layer, the warmer it, and thus the groundwater in it, becomes. This energy can be extracted and transported to the surface towards the surface with special plants. It can be used both for cooling buildings in summer and for heating them in winter.

Experimenting with Porous Media

Holger Steeb, SFB 1313's principal investigator gives us an insight into experimenting with porous media in the "Porous Media Lab". He and his team show us, how important experiments are to better understand hydro-mechanical properties of porous materials in order to develop mathematical models, which can be used in simulations and for technical applications.

Simulation of large systems in the field of porous media

SFB 1313 principal investigator Miriam Mehl and her team provide algorithms, mathematical methods and software to solve the huge systems of equations involved in today’s simulations. The size of these systems requires the use of super-computers with a power consumption of several Megawatt. Prof. Mehl and her group “Simulation of Large Systems” can significantly contribute to use the huge amount of energy much more efficiently.

Portrait of SFB 1313 Jun.-Prof. Carina Bringedal

Interface-driven processes in porous media are very interesting to SFB 1313 principal investigator Carina Bringedal as she worked on evolving interfaces in porous media during her PhD and during her postdoc at Hasselt University (Belgium). She looks forward to learning more about interface-driven processes and plans to focus on evaporation at the pore scale during her time in Stuttgart. The film project was realized as a part of the university-wide pooling of DFG equal opportunity funds.

Interviews with SFB 1313 Guests

We recorded audio interviews with our SFB 1313 guests to get to know them and their research better.


This picture showsPatrizia Ambrisi

Patrizia Ambrisi

Project Ö - Public Relations

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