Prediction of displacement patterns in porous media using the probability of pore-scale filling events

Tian Lan, Ran Hu

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Multiphase flow in porous media is a common process in numerous engineering applications. While numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of flow conditions, fluid properties, and wettability, the influence of flow geometry on the flow process remains poorly understood. Here, a theoretical model is proposed to directly forecast the displacement patterns across a wide range of porosity and disorder. This model is built upon the revelation that the overlap event stabilizes the invasion front, allowing us to predict displacement patterns by computing the probability of the overlap event. A value of 1 indicates a stable invasion process, resulting in compact displacement. Conversely, a value of 0 signifies an unstable invasion process, leading to capillary fingering. In the intermediate range between 0 and 1, a crossover zone is observed. The predicted phase diagram is evaluated using pore-network simulations and experiments in the literature, confirming that this model can reasonably predict displacement patterns under varying porosity and disorder. This contribution extends classical phase diagrams and holds practical significance for engineering applications.

Document Type: Original article

Cited as: Lan, T., Hu, R. Prediction of displacement patterns in porous media using the probability of pore-scale filling events. Capillarity, 2024, 11(1): 22-30.


Multiphase flow, displacement patterns, porosity, disorder, pore-filling events

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