Drying by cavitation and poroelastic relaxations in porous media with macroscopic pores connected by nanoscale throats

Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Sep 26;113(13):134501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.134501. Epub 2014 Sep 25.


We investigate the drying dynamics of porous media with two pore diameters separated by several orders of magnitude. Nanometer-sized pores at the edge of our samples prevent air entry, while drying proceeds by heterogeneous nucleation of vapor bubbles--cavitation--in the liquid in micrometer-sized voids within the sample. We show that the dynamics of cavitation and drying are set by the interplay of the deterministic poroelastic mass transport in the porous medium and the stochastic nucleation process. Spatiotemporal patterns emerge in this unusual reaction-diffusion system, with temporal oscillations in the drying rate and variable roughness of the drying front.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity
  • Microbubbles
  • Microtechnology
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nanopores*
  • Porosity
  • Stochastic Processes