Percolation Theory and Network Modeling Applications in Soil Physics

Research paper by Brian Berkowitz, Robert P. Ewing

Indexed on: 01 Jan '98Published on: 01 Jan '98Published in: Surveys in Geophysics


The application of percolation theory to porous media is closely tied to network models. A network model is a detailed model of a porous medium, generally incorporating pore-scale descriptions of the medium and the physics of pore-scale events. Network models and percolation theory are complementary: while network models have yielded insight into behavior at the pore scale, percolation theory has shed light, at the larger scale, on the nature and effects of randomness in porous media. This review discusses some basic aspects of percolation theory and its applications, and explores work that explicitly links percolation theory to porous media using network models. We then examine assumptions behind percolation theory and discuss how network models can be adapted to capture the physics of water, air and solute movement in soils. Finally, we look at some current work relating percolation theory and network models to soils.