Three-dimensional simulations of biofilm growth in porous media

D. A.Graf Von Der Schulenburg, T. R.R. Pintelon, C. Picioreanu, M. C.M. Van Loosdrecht, M. L. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Biofilm growth occurs in a variety of random porous media in a range of industrial processes; prediction of its growth and subsequent influence on hydrodynamics is hence desirable. In this study, we present the first numerical 3D pore-scale model of biofilm growth in porous media, based on a lattice Boltzmann simulation platform complemented with an individual-based biofilm model (IbM). We use it to explore the coupled interaction between nutrient mass transport, biofilm growth, and hydrodynamics. Biofilm is shown to be very effective at reducing the permeability of porous media, particularly under nutrient limited conditions. We conclude with a direct comparison of 3D and 2D biofilm growth simulations in porous media and show the necessity of performing the simulations in 3D. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering


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