Effects of Pore-Scale Disorder on Fluid Displacement in Partially-Wettable Porous Media

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    We present a systematic, quantitative assessment of the impact of pore size disorder and its interplay with flow rates and wettability on immiscible displacement of a viscous fluid. Pore-scale simulations and micromodel experiments show that reducing disorder increases the displacement efficiency and compactness, minimizing the fluid-fluid interfacial area, through (i) trapping at low rates and (ii) viscous fingering at high rates. Increasing the wetting angle suppresses both trapping and fingering, hence reducing the sensitivity of the displacement to the underlying disorder. A modified capillary number Ca* that includes the impact of disorder λ on viscous forces (through pore connectivity) is direct related to λ, in par with previous works. Our findings bear important consequences on sweep efficiency and fluid mixing and reactions, which are key in applications such as microfluidics to carbon geosequestration, energy recovery, and soil aeration and remediation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number36221
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2016

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