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The development of intermittent multiphase fluid flow pathways through a porous rock

Title: The development of intermittent multiphase fluid flow pathways through a porous rock
Authors: Spurin, C
Bultreys, T
Rücker, M
Garfi, G
Schlepütz, CM
Novak, V
Berg, S
Blunt, MJ
Krevor, S
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: storage and natural gas production. However, due to experimental limitations, it has not been possible to identify why intermittency occurs at subsurface conditions and what the implications are for upscaled flow properties such as relative permeability. We address these questions with observations of nitrogen and brine flowing at steady-state through a carbonate rock. We overcome previous imaging limitations with high-speed (1s resolution), synchrotron-based X-ray micro-computed tomography combined with pressure measurements recorded while controlling fluid flux. We observe that intermittent fluid transport allows the non-wetting phase to flow through a more ramified network of pores, which would not be possible with connected pathway flow alone for the same flow rate. The volume of fluid intermittently fluctuating increases with capillary number, with the corresponding expansion of the flow network minimising the role of inertial forces in controlling flow even as the flow rate increases. Intermittent pathway flow sits energetically between laminar and turbulent through connected pathways. While a more ramified flow network favours lowered relative permeability, intermittency is more dissipative than laminar flow through connected pathways, and the relative permeability remains unchanged for low capillary numbers where the pore geometry controls the location of intermittency. However, as the capillary number increases further, the role of pore structure in controlling intermittency decreases which corresponds to an increase in relative permeability. These observations can serve as the basis of a model for the causal links between intermittent fluid flow, fluid distribution throughout the pore space, and the upscaled manifestation in relative permeability.
Issue Date: Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance: 5-Feb-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/87319
DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2021.103868
ISSN: 0309-1708
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Start Page: 1
End Page: 7
Journal / Book Title: Advances in Water Resources
Volume: 150
Copyright Statement: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Sponsor/Funder: Shell Global Solutions International BV
Funder's Grant Number: PO no. 4550143956
Keywords: Environmental Engineering
0102 Applied Mathematics
0905 Civil Engineering
0907 Environmental Engineering
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 103868
Online Publication Date: 2021-02-09
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering
Chemical Engineering

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons