Fluid invasion dynamics in porous media with complex wettability and connectivity

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Arjen Mascini , Marijn Boone, Stefanie Van Offenwert, Shan Wang, Veerle Cnudde, Tom Bultreys 


Fluid invasion into porous materials is very common in natural and industrial processes. The fluid invasion dynamics in simple pore networks are governed by a global balance of capillary, viscous and inertial forces. However, significant local variability in this balance may exist inside natural, heterogeneous porous materials. Here, we imaged slow fluid intrusion in two sister samples of a heterogeneous sandstone, one water-wet and one mixed-wet, using high-resolution 4D X-ray imaging. The pore-by-pore fluid invasion dynamics were quantified, revealing a new type of mixed-wet dynamics where 19% of the fluid invasions were orders of magnitude slower than in directly neighboring pores. While conventional understanding predicted strongly capillary-dominated conditions, our analysis suggests that viscous forces played a key role in these dynamics, facilitated by a complex interplay between the mixed-wettability and the pore structure. These previously unknown dynamics highlight the need for further studies on the fundamental controls on multiphase flow in complex natural porous materials, which are abundant in e.g. groundwater remediation and subsurface CO2 storage operations.




Chemical Engineering, Complex Fluids, Earth Sciences, Fluid Dynamics, Hydrology, Materials Science and Engineering, Other Materials Science and Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Transport Phenomena


wettability, X-ray computed microtomography, Heterogeneous porous media, Pore-scale imaging, Wettability, Capillarity, heterogeneous porous media, pore-scale imaging, capillary


Published: 2021-06-17 18:49


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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