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Verifying pore network models of imbibition in rocks using time‐resolved synchrotron imaging

DOI: 10.1029/2019WR026587 DOI Help

Authors: Tom Bultreys (Imperial College London; Ghent University) , Kamaljit Singh (Imperial College London; Heriot‐Watt University) , Ali Q. Raeini (Imperial College London) , Leonardo C. Ruspini (Petricore Norway AS) , Pål‐eric Øren (Petricore Norway AS) , Steffen Berg (Shell Global Solutions BV) , Maja Rücker (Imperial College London) , Branko Bijeljic (Imperial College London) , Martin J. Blunt (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: Yes

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Water Resources Research , VOL 56

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 11587

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: At the pore scale, slow invasion of a wetting fluid in porous materials is often modeled with quasi‐static approximations which only consider capillary forces in the form of simple pore‐filling rules. The appropriateness of this approximation, often applied in pore network models, is contested in the literature, reflecting the difficulty of predicting imbibition relative permeability with these models. However, validation by sole comparison to continuum‐scale experiments is prone to induce model overfitting. It has therefore remained unclear whether difficulties generalizing the model performance are caused by errors in the predicted filling sequence or by subsequent calculations. Here, we address this by examining whether such a model can predict the pore‐scale fluid distributions underlying the behavior at the continuum scale. To this end, we compare the fluid arrangement evolution measured in fast synchrotron micro‐CT experiments on two rock types to quasi‐static simulations which implement capillary‐dominated pore filling and snap‐off, including a sophisticated model for cooperative pore filling. The results indicate that such pore network models can, in principle, predict fluid distributions accurately enough to estimate upscaled flow properties of strongly wetted rocks at low capillary numbers.

Journal Keywords: imbibition; micro‐CT; multi‐phase flow; pore network modeling; porous media; synchrotron imaging

Subject Areas: Earth Science

Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging

Other Facilities: TOMCAT at Swiss Light Source

Added On: 30/07/2020 10:52


Discipline Tags:

Earth Sciences & Environment Geology Geophysics

Technical Tags:

Imaging Tomography