Tuesday, January 22, 2013

1301.4883 (Amber T. Krummel et al.)

Visualizing multiphase flow and trapped fluid configurations in a model
three-dimensional porous medium

Amber T. Krummel, Sujit S. Datta, Stefan Münster, David A. Weitz
We report an approach to fully visualize the flow of two immiscible fluids through a model three-dimensional (3D) porous medium at pore-scale resolution. Using confocal microscopy, we directly image the drainage of the medium by the non-wetting oil and subsequent imbibition by the wetting fluid. During imbibition, the wetting fluid pinches off threads of oil in the narrow crevices of the medium, forming disconnected oil ganglia. Some of these ganglia remain trapped within the medium. By resolving the full 3D structure of the trapped ganglia, we show that the typical ganglion size, and the total amount of residual oil, decreases as the capillary number Ca increases; this behavior reflects the competition between the viscous pressure in the wetting fluid and the capillary pressure required to force oil through the pores of the medium. This work thus shows how pore-scale fluid dynamics influence the trapped fluid configurations in multiphase flow through 3D porous media.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1301.4883

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