Uniqueness of Specific Interfacial Area–Capillary Pressure–Saturation Relationship Under Non-Equilibrium Conditions in Two-Phase Porous Media Flow

Vahid Joekar-Niasar, S. Majid Hassanizadeh

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43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The capillary pressure-saturation (P c-S w) relationship is one of the central constitutive relationships used in two-phase flow simulations. There are two major concerns regarding this relation. These concerns are partially studied in a hypothetical porous medium using a dynamic pore-network model called DYPOSIT, which has been employed and extended for this study: (a) P c-S w relationship is measured empirically under equilibrium conditions. It is then used in Darcy-based simulations for all dynamic conditions. This is only valid if there is a guarantee that this relationship is unique for a given flow process (drainage or imbibition) independent of dynamic conditions; (b) It is also known that P c-S w relationship is flow process dependent. Depending on drainage and imbibition, different curves can be achieved, which are referred to as "hysteresis". A thermodynamically derived theory (Hassanizadeh and Gray, Water Resour Res 29: 3389-3904, 1993a) suggests that, by introducing a new state variable, called the specific interfacial area (a nw, defined as the ratio of fluid-fluid interfacial area to the total volume of the domain), it is possible to define a unique relation between capillary pressure, saturation, and interfacial area. This study investigates these two aspects of capillary pressure-saturation relationship using a dynamic pore-network model. The simulation results imply that P c-S w relation not only depends on flow process (drainage and imbibition) but also on dynamic conditions for a given flow process. Moreover, this study attempts to obtain the first preliminary insights into the global functionality of capillary pressure-saturation-interfacial area relationship under equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions and the uniqueness of P c-S w-a nw relationship. © 2012 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages22
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 23 2012
Externally publishedYes

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