Stable and efficient time integration of a dynamic pore network model for two-phase flow in porous media
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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We study three different time integration methods for a dynamic pore network model for immiscible two-phase flow in porous media. Considered are two explicit methods, the forward Euler and midpoint methods, and a new semi-implicit method developed herein. The explicit methods are known to suffer from numerical instabilities at low capillary numbers. A new time-step criterion is suggested in order to stabilize them. Numerical experiments, including a Haines jump case, are performed and these demonstrate that stabilization is achieved. Further, the results from the Haines jump case are consistent with experimental observations. A performance analysis reveals that the semi-implicit method is able to perform stable simulations with much less computational effort than the explicit methods at low capillary numbers. The relative benefit of using the semi-implicit method increases with decreasing capillary number Ca, and at Ca ~ 10^-8 the computational time needed is reduced by three orders of magnitude. This increased efficiency enables simulations in the low-capillary number regime that are unfeasible with explicit methods and the range of capillary numbers for which the pore network model is a tractable modeling alternative is thus greatly extended by the semi-implicit method.