Role of Pore-Size Distribution on Effective Rheology of Two-Phase Flow in Porous Media
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFrontiers in water. 2021, 3 . 10.3389/frwa.2021.709833
Immiscible two-phase flow of Newtonian fluids in porous media exhibits a power law relationship between flow rate and pressure drop when the pressure drop is such that the viscous forces compete with the capillary forces. When the pressure drop is large enough for the viscous forces to dominate, there is a crossover to a linear relation between flow rate and pressure drop. Different values for the exponent relating the flow rate and pressure drop in the regime where the two forces compete have been reported in different experimental and numerical studies. We investigate the power law and its exponent in immiscible steady-state two-phase flow for different pore size distributions. We measure the values of the exponent and the crossover pressure drop for different fluid saturations while changing the shape and the span of the distribution. We consider two approaches, analytical calculations using a capillary bundle model and numerical simulations using dynamic pore-network modeling. In case of the capillary bundle when the pores do not interact to each other, we find that the exponent is always equal to 3/2 irrespective of the distribution type. For the dynamical pore network model on the other hand, the exponent varies continuously within a range when changing the shape of the distribution whereas the width of the distribution controls the crossover point.