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Dynamic fluid connectivity during steady-state multiphase flow in a sandstone

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1702834114 DOI Help

Authors: Catriona A. Reynolds (Imperial College London) , Hannah Menke (Imperial College London) , Matthew Andrew (Carl Zeiss X-ray Microscopy Ltd.) , Martin J. Blunt (Imperial College London) , Samuel Krevor (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences , VOL 4

State: Published (Approved)
Published: July 2017
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 10605

Abstract: The current conceptual picture of steady-state multiphase Darcy flow in porous media is that the fluid phases organize into separate flow pathways with stable interfaces. Here we demonstrate a previously unobserved type of steady-state flow behavior, which we term “dynamic connectivity,” using fast pore-scale X-ray imaging. We image the flow of N2 and brine through a permeable sandstone at subsurface reservoir conditions, and low capillary numbers, and at constant fluid saturation. At any instant, the network of pores filled with the nonwetting phase is not necessarily connected. Flow occurs along pathways that periodically reconnect, like cars controlled by traffic lights. This behavior is consistent with an energy balance, where some of the energy of the injected fluids is sporadically converted to create new interfaces.

Journal Keywords: steady state; pore-scale imaging; immiscible two-phase flow; dynamic connectivity; geologic CO2 storage

Subject Areas: Earth Science


Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging