- An efficient approach for upscaling properties of composite materials with high contrast of coefficients (2007)
- An efficient approach for calculating the effective heat conductivity for a class of industrial composite materials, such as metal foams, fibrous glass materials, and the like, is discussed. These materials, used in insulation or in advanced heat exchangers, are characterized by a low volume fraction of the highly conductive material (glass or metal) having a complex, network-like structure and by a large volume fraction of the insulator (air). We assume that the composite materials have constant macroscopic thermal conductivity tensors, which in principle can be obtained by standard up-scaling techniques, that use the concept of representative elementary volumes (REV), i.e. the effective heat conductivities of composite media can be computed by post-processing the solutions of some special cell problems for REVs. We propose, theoretically justify, and numerically study an efficient approach for calculating the effective conductivity for media for which the ratio of low and high conductivities satisfies 1. In this case one essentially only needs to solve the heat equation in the region occupied by the highly conductive media. For a class of problems we show, that under certain conditions on the microscale geometry, the proposed approach produces an upscaled conductivity that is O() close to the exact upscaled permeability. A number of numerical experiments are presented in order to illustrate the accuracy and the limitations of the proposed method. Applicability of the presented approach to upscaling other similar problems, e.g. flow in fractured porous media, is also discussed.