Dynamics of snap-off and pore-filling events during two-phase fluid flow in permeable media

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Title: Dynamics of snap-off and pore-filling events during two-phase fluid flow in permeable media
Authors: Singh, K
Menke, H
Andrew, M
Lin, Q
Rau, C
Blunt, MJ
Bijeljic, B
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Understanding the pore-scale dynamics of two-phase fluid flow in permeable media is important in many processes such as water infiltration in soils, oil recovery, and geo-sequestration of CO2. The two most important processes that compete during the displacement of a non-wetting fluid by a wetting fluid are pore-filling or piston-like displacement and snap-off; this latter process can lead to trapping of the non-wetting phase. We present a three-dimensional dynamic visualization study using fast synchrotron X-ray micro-tomography to provide new insights into these processes by conducting a time-resolved pore-by-pore analysis of the local curvature and capillary pressure. We show that the time-scales of interface movement and brine layer swelling leading to snap-off are several minutes, orders of magnitude slower than observed for Haines jumps in drainage. The local capillary pressure increases rapidly after snap-off as the trapped phase finds a position that is a new local energy minimum. However, the pressure change is less dramatic than that observed during drainage. We also show that the brine-oil interface jumps from pore-to-pore during imbibition at an approximately constant local capillary pressure, with an event size of the order of an average pore size, again much smaller than the large bursts seen during drainage.
Issue Date: 12-Jul-2017
Date of Acceptance: 5-Jun-2017
ISSN: 2045-2322
Journal / Book Title: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS
Volume: 7
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Sponsor/Funder: Qatar Shell Research and Technology Center QSTP LLC
Funder's Grant Number: 490000724
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 5192
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering

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