Determination of the spatial distribution of wetting in the pore networks of rocks

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Gaetano Garfi , Cédric M. John , Maja Rücker , Qingyang Lin, Catherine Spurin, Steffen Berg, Sam Krevor


The macroscopic movement of subsurface fluids involved in CO2 storage, groundwater, and petroleum engineering applications is controlled by interfacial forces in the pores of rocks, micrometre to millimetre in length scale. Recent advances in physics based models of these systems has arisen from approaches simulating flow through a digital representation of the complex pore structure. However, further progress is limited by a lack of approaches to characterising the spatial distribution of the wetting state within the pore structure. In this work, we show how observations of the fluid coverage of mineral surfaces within the pores of rocks can be used as the basis for a quantitative 3D characterisation of heterogeneous wetting states throughout rock pore structures. We demonstrate the approach with water-oil fluid pairs on rocks with distinct lithologies (sandstone and carbonate) and wetting states (hydrophilic, intermediate wetting, or heterogeneously wetting). The resulting 3D maps can be used as a deterministic input to pore scale modelling workflows and applied to all multiphase flow problems in porous media ranging from soil science to fuel cells.



Engineering, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


multiphase flow, X-ray micro-CT, fluid-solid interface


Published: 2021-05-17 10:17


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International