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Experimental study on the displacement patterns and the phase diagram of immiscible fluid displacement in three-dimensional porous media
Advances in Water Resources ( IF 4.016 ) Pub Date : 2020-04-09 , DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2020.103584
Yingxue Hu; Anindityo Patmonoaji; Chunwei Zhang; Tetsuya Suekane

The immiscible fluid displacement pattern, controlled by the balance of viscous and capillary forces has a significant effect on the recovery or storage efficiency in subsurface processes. The phase diagram of displacement patterns has been extensively studied for the two-dimensional (2D) micromodel; however, that of the three-dimensional (3D) porous media has received little attention. This work experimentally studied the immiscible drainage displacement in an unconsolidated packed bed at the pore scale with a wide range of capillary number Ca and viscosity ratio M using X-ray micro-tomography. Three typical displacement patterns, namely viscous fingering, capillary fingering, and stable displacement, were observed in 3D porous media. The rough location of three displacement patterns on the Ca–M diagram was consistent with previous studies in 2D micromodel. The boundaries for three regimes were determined based on the quantitative analyses of the saturation distribution as functions of Ca and M. Compared with the result in 2D micromodel, a broader transition zone between different regimes was found in 3D porous media. The characterizations of finger structures (e.g. fractal dimension and finger width) were applied to reveal the mechanism of how the injected fluid invades the pores and throats inside porous media for different displacement patterns. The average fractal dimension of capillary fingerings was 2.58 ± 0.05, which agrees with the 2.55 defined by the invasion percolation theory. For the viscous fingering, where the viscous force dominates the invasion process, the invading fluid follows a several preferential flow paths in the same direction as the injection and the finger width was only 1 to 2 pore bodies. Besides, the invasion dynamics under continuous injection conditions were compared for typical viscous and capillary fingerings. This study may improve our understanding of the dynamics of displacement processes jointly governed by the viscous/capillary forces in 3D porous media. Furthermore, the phase diagram under various conditions (i.e. a wide range of Ca and M) can help to find a suitable reservoir conditions for subsurface processes.
更新日期:2020-04-09

 

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