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Journal Article

Dynamic regimes of buoyancy-affected two-phase flow in unconsolidated porous media

MPS-Authors
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Stoehr,  M.
Flux Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Khalili,  A.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Stoehr6.pdf
(Publisher version), 629KB

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Citation

Stoehr, M., & Khalili, A. (2006). Dynamic regimes of buoyancy-affected two-phase flow in unconsolidated porous media. Physical Review E, 73(3): 036301.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CF81-4
Abstract
The invasion and subsequent flow of a nonwetting fluid (NWF) in a three-dimensional, unconsolidated porous medium saturated with a wetting fluid of higher density and viscosity have been studied experimentally using a light-transmission technique. Distinct dynamic regimes have been found for different relative magnitudes of viscous, capillary, and gravity forces. It is shown that the ratio of viscous and hydrostatic pressure gradients can be used as a relevant dimensionless number K for the characterization of the different flow regimes. For low values of K, the invasion is characterized by the migration and fragmentation of isolated clusters of the NWF resulting from the prevalence of gravity and capillary forces. At high values of K, the dominance of viscous and gravity forces leads to an anisotropic fingerlike invasion. When the invasion stops after the breakthrough of the NWF at the open upper boundary, the invasion structure retracts under the influence of gravity and transforms into stable vertical channels. It is shown that the stability of these channels is the result of a balance between hydrostatic and viscous pressure gradients.