Hydro-dynamic Solute Transport under Two-Phase Flow Conditions

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There are abundant examples of natural, engineering and industrial applications, in which “solute transport” and “mixing” in porous media occur under multiphase flow conditions. Current state-of-the-art understanding and modelling of such processes are established based on flawed and non-representative models. Moreover, there is no direct experimental result to show the true hydrodynamics of transport and mixing under multiphase flow conditions while the saturation topology is being kept constant for a number of flow rates. With the use of a custom-made microscope, and under well-controlled flow boundary conditions, we visualized directly the transport of a tracer in a Reservoir-on-Chip (RoC) micromodel filled with two immiscible fluids. This study provides novel insights into the saturation-dependency of transport and mixing in porous media. To our knowledge, this is the first reported pore-scale experiment in which the saturation topology, relative permeability, and tortuosity were kept constant and transport was studied under different dynamic conditions in a wide range of saturation. The critical role of two-phase hydrodynamic properties on non-Fickian transport and saturation-dependency of dispersion are discussed, which highlight the major flaws in parametrization of existing models.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number6624
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date16 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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