Percolation Thresholds in 2-Dimensional Prefractal Models of Porous Media*

Research paper by Michael C. Sukop, Gert-Jaap van Dijk, Edmund Perfect, Wilko K. P. van Loon

Indexed on: 01 Aug '02Published on: 01 Aug '02Published in: Transport in Porous Media


Considerable effort has been directed towards the application of percolation theory and fractal modeling to porous media. We combine these areas of research to investigate percolation in prefractal porous media. We estimated percolation thresholds in the pore space of homogeneous random 2-dimensional prefractals as a function of the fractal scale invariance ratio b and iteration level i. The percolation thresholds for these simulations were found to increase beyond the 0.5927l... porosity expected in Bernoulli (uncorrelated) percolation networks. Percolation in prefractals occurs through large pores connected by small pores. The thresholds increase with both b (a finite size effect) and i. The results allow the prediction of the onset of percolation in models of prefractal porous media and can be used to bound modeling efforts. More fundamental applications are also possible. Only a limited range of parameters has been explored empirically but extrapolations allow the critical fractal dimension to be estimated for a large combination of b and i values. Extrapolation to infinite iterations suggests that there may be a critical fractal dimension of the solid at which the pore space percolates. The extrapolated value is close to 1.89 – the well-known fractal dimension of percolation clusters in 2-dimensional Bernoulli networks.