Mass transport in porous materials is universal in nature, and its worth attracts great attention in many engineering applications. Plant leaves, which work as natural hydraulic pumps for water uptake, have evolved to have the morphological structure for fast water transport to compensate large water loss by leaf transpiration. In this study, we tried to deduce the advantageous structural features of plant leaves for practical applications. Inspired by the tissue organization of the hydraulic pathways in plant leaves, analogous double-layered porous models were fabricated using agarose hydrogel. Solute transport through the hydrogel models with different thickness ratios of the two layers was experimentally observed. In addition, numerical simulation and theoretical analysis were carried out with varying porosity and thickness ratio to investigate the effect of structural factors on mass transport ability. A simple parametric study was also conducted to examine unveiled relations between structural factors. As a result, the porosity and thickness ratio of the two layers are found to govern the mass transport ability in double-layered porous materials. The hydrogel models with widely dispersed pores at a fixed porosity, i.e., close to a homogeneously porous structure, are mostly turned out to exhibit fast mass transport. The present results would provide a new framework for fundamental design of various porous structures for effective mass transport.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry