Flows into porous media are at the heart of many environmental, industrial and biological systems. By transporting and mixing molecules, particles and micro-organisms, these complex fluxes give rise to numerous biogeochemical couplings and reactions. These processes are very sensitive to chemical gradients that often persist well below the Darcy and even pore scales, characterizing the smallest structural heterogeneities of porous media.At present, transport and mixing dynamics controlling the intensity and size of chemical gradients in porous media remain largely misunderstood. In an experimental study published in PNAS in May 2020, researchers from Geosciences Rennes/OSUR and RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) were able to highlight the presence of chaotic phenomena in the transport of molecules, phenomena able to maintain chemical gradients well below the pore scale.
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