On November 24, 2021, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved a further four years of funding for the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1313 "Interface-Driven Multi-Field Processes in Porous Media. Flow, Transport and Deformation" at the University of Stuttgart. The overarching scientific aim of CRC 1313 is to gain a fundamental understanding of how interfaces influence flow, transport, and deformation processes in porous media.
Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector at the University of Stuttgart, comments happily: "The DFG's decision recognizes the excellent fundamental research achieved by the CRC 1313 during the first funding period. This Collaborative Research Center makes a lasting contribution to solving major challenges in environmental, economic, and biomedical systems - in keeping with the University of Stuttgart's vision of 'Intelligent Systems for a Sustainable Society'. In addition, the SFB has done an exemplary job of implementing knowledge transfer in society, for example with the science exhibition 'PRETTY POROUS - ALLES PORÖS' at the Stuttgart Planetarium."
Examples of the relevance of the complex flow, transport, and deformation phenomena in porous media include CO2 sequestration, the mobilization of methane in gas hydrates, the flow of organic liquids in contaminated soils, the storage of "green" gas, or gas and water transport in fuel cells, the drying of food or building materials, and the absorption of liquids by textiles. Other examples include the flow of complex fluids in biological tissues, including oxygen supply to cells, or the effects of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
To understand these processes, around 60 researchers work together at the CRC 1313, from the fields of building and environmental sciences, mathematics, thermodynamics, computer science, aerospace engineering and computational physics. In addition to the University of Stuttgart as the lead university, Forschungszentrum Jülich and 35 international partner institutions are also involved. Prof- Rainer Helmig is currently the CRC spokesperson and he will hand this role over to Prof. Holger Steeb in 2024.
The research undertaken by the CRC 1313
Flow, transport and deformation in porous media are strongly coupled processes that depend, to a large extent, on the nonlinear interplay of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena. Using state-of-the-art technology, the analysis of these processes is usually performed on various spatial and time scales determined by the geometry, structure, and heterogeneity of the porous medium. However, the overall behavior of systems with porous media is determined by the nature, geometry, and dynamics of various types of fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interfaces, which occur not only at the targeted characteristic scales, but also on smaller scales. Therefore, many available model concepts cannot adequately capture and predict the actual behavior of the system.
This is where the research concept of CRC 1313 comes into play: "One of the strategic goals for the next four years is increasing cooperation between the project areas through overarching visionary projects, such as salt spread in the subsurface due to ongoing climate change," explains spokesperson Prof. Rainer Helmig. "These goals can only be achieved because CRC 1313 is composed of an international, highly respected interdisciplinary team that focuses on many different facets of porous media research - from mathematics to fluid mechanics and thermodynamics to selected areas of computer science." The research findings from the first funding period were presented at over 30 international conferences and resulted in over 100 publications that were published in various scientific journals.
Scientific exhibitions aimed at the general public
In order to involve the general public in research projects from CRC 1313, the science exhibition "PRETTY POROUS – ALLES PORÖS" was on display for more than two months at the Stuttgart Planetarium in 2020. Using examples from biology, technology and the environment, the exhibition offered valuable insights into the world of porous media and showed how current research is making the invisible visible. The exhibition was created in cooperation with the Reality Lab Space Sharing at the Stuttgart State Academy of Fine Arts (ABK) and with the University of Stuttgart's Cluster of Excellence EXC 2075 "Data-Integrated Simulation Science" (SimTech).
The Collaborative Research Centers funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) are research institutions affiliated with a university and are designed to operate for a duration of up to twelve years. The CRC 1313 "Interface-Driven Multi-Field Processes in Porous Media. Flow, Transport and Deformation" will begin its second research phase on January 1, 2022. Funding for the next four years amounts to just over 9 million euros.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Helmig, Spokesperson CRC 1313, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems (IWS), Tel. +49 (711) 685-64741, E-Mail