Pore-scale investigation of wettability effects on two-phase flow in porous media

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Harris Rabbani


Physics of immiscible two-phase flow in porous media is relevant for various industrial and environmental applications. Wettability defined as the relative affinity of fluids with the solid surface has a significant impact on the dynamics of immiscible displacement. Although wettability effects on the macroscopic fluid flow behaviour are well known, there is a lack of pore-scale understanding. Considering the crucial role of wettability in a diverse range of applications; this research aims to provide a pore-scale picture of interface configuration induced by variations in the wetting characteristics of porous media. Besides, this study also relates the pore-scale interfacial phenomena with the macroscopic response of fluids. High-resolution direct numerical simulations (DNS) at multiscale (single capillary and a highly heterogeneous porous media) were performed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach in which the Navier-Stokes equation coupled with the volume of fluid method is solved to represent immiscible displacement. Numerical results demonstrate that at pore scale as the wettability of porous media changes from strong to intermediate wet the effects of pore geometry (that includes corner angle and orientation angle) on the interfacial dynamics also enhances. This was demonstrated by the non-monotonic behaviour of entry capillary pressure at the junction of pore, curvature reversal in the converging-diverging capillary and the co-existence of concave and convex interfaces in heterogeneous porous media with uniform contact angle distribution. In addition to simulations, theoretical argument is also presented that rationalize the underlying physics of complex, yet intriguing interfacial phenomena shown by DNS. Overall this research extends the fundamental understanding of multiphase flow in porous media and paves the way for future studies on porous media.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2018