Modeling and Experimental Study of the Effect of Pore Water Velocity on the Spectral Induced Polarization Signature in Porous Media

K. Tsukanov, I. Assa, N. Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Induced polarization (IP) is increasingly applied for hydrological, environmental and agricultural purposes. Interpretation of IP data is based on understanding the relationship between the IP signature and the porous media property of interest. Mechanistic models on the IP phenomenon rely on the Poisson-Nernst-Plank equations, where diffusion and electromigration fluxes are the driving forces of charge transport and are directly related to IP. However, to our knowledge, the impact of advection flux on IP was not investigated experimentally and was not considered in any IP model. In this work, we measured the spectral IP (SIP) signature of porous media under varying flow conditions, in addition to developing and solving a model for SIP signature of porous media, which takes flow into consideration. The experimental and the model results demonstrate that as bulk velocity increases, polarization and relaxation time decrease. Using a numerical model, we established that fluid flow near the particle deforms the electrical double layer (EDL) structure, accounting for the observed reduction in polarization. We found a qualitative agreement between the model and the measurements. Still, the model overestimates the impact of flow rate on SIP signature, which we explain in terms of the flow boundary conditions. Overall, our results demonstrate the sensitivity of the SIP signature to fluid flow, highlighting the need to consider fluid velocity in the interpretation of the SIP signature of porous media, and opening an exciting new direction for noninvasive measurements of fluid flow at the EDL scale.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2021WR030479
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

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  • advection flux
  • complex conductivity
  • hydrogeophysics
  • pore water velocity
  • relaxation time
  • spectral induced polarization


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