Cyclic fluid-fluid displacements in disordered media feature hysteresis, multivaluedness, and memory properties in the pressure-saturation relationship. Quantitative understanding of the underlying pore-scale mechanisms and their extrapolation across scales constitutes a major challenge. Here we find that the capillary action of a single constriction in the fluid passage contains the key features of hysteresis. This insight forms the building block for an ab initio model that provides the quantitative link between the microscopic capillary physics, spatially-extended collective events (Haines jumps) and large-scale hysteresis. The mechanisms identified here apply to a broad range of problems in hydrology, geophysics and engineering.
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- Fluid dynamics
- Statistical physics, thermodynamics and nonlinear dynamics
- Physics and Astronomy(all)