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Title: Nonequilibrium Physics and Phase-Field Modeling of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media

Abstract

The overarching goal of this project was to develop a new continuum theory of multiphase flow in porous media. The theory follows a phase-field modeling approach, and therefore has a sound thermodynamical basis. It is a phenomenological theory in the sense that its formulation is driven by macroscopic phenomena, such as viscous instabilities during multifluid displacement. The research agenda was organized around a set of hypothesis on hitherto unexplained behavior of multiphase flow. All these hypothesis are nontrivial, and testable. Indeed, a central aspect of the project was testing each hypothesis by means of carefully-designed laboratory experiments, therefore probing the validity of the proposed theory. The proposed research places an emphasis on the fundamentals of flow physics, but is motivated by important energy-driven applications in earth sciences, as well as microfluidic technology.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1332323
Report Number(s):
Final Technical Report
DOE Contract Number:
SC0003907
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 42 ENGINEERING

Citation Formats

Juanes, Ruben. Nonequilibrium Physics and Phase-Field Modeling of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1332323.
Juanes, Ruben. Nonequilibrium Physics and Phase-Field Modeling of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media. United States. doi:10.2172/1332323.
Juanes, Ruben. 2016. "Nonequilibrium Physics and Phase-Field Modeling of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media". United States. doi:10.2172/1332323. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1332323.
@article{osti_1332323,
title = {Nonequilibrium Physics and Phase-Field Modeling of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media},
author = {Juanes, Ruben},
abstractNote = {The overarching goal of this project was to develop a new continuum theory of multiphase flow in porous media. The theory follows a phase-field modeling approach, and therefore has a sound thermodynamical basis. It is a phenomenological theory in the sense that its formulation is driven by macroscopic phenomena, such as viscous instabilities during multifluid displacement. The research agenda was organized around a set of hypothesis on hitherto unexplained behavior of multiphase flow. All these hypothesis are nontrivial, and testable. Indeed, a central aspect of the project was testing each hypothesis by means of carefully-designed laboratory experiments, therefore probing the validity of the proposed theory. The proposed research places an emphasis on the fundamentals of flow physics, but is motivated by important energy-driven applications in earth sciences, as well as microfluidic technology.},
doi = {10.2172/1332323},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • Modeling fracture-matrix interaction within a complex multiple phase flow system is a key issue for fractured reservoir simulation. Commonly used mathematical models for dealing with such interactions employ a dual- or multiple-continuum concept, in which fractures and matrix are represented as overlapping, different, but interconnected continua, described by parallel sets of conservation equations. The conventional single-point upstream weighting scheme, in which the fracture relative permeability is used to represent the counterpart at the fracture-matrix interface, is the most common scheme by which to estimate flow mobility for fracture-matrix flow terms. However, such a scheme has a serious flaw, which maymore » lead to unphysical solutions or significant numerical errors. To overcome the limitation of the conventional upstream weighting scheme, this paper presents a physically based modeling approach for estimating physically correct relative permeability in calculating multiphase flow between fractures and the matrix, using continuity of capillary pressure at the fracture-matrix interface. The proposed approach has been implemented into two multiphase reservoir simulators and verified using analytical solutions and laboratory experimental data. The new method is demonstrated to be accurate, numerically efficient, and easy to implement in dual- or multiple-continuum models.« less
  • A parametric model is developed to describe relative permeability-saturation-fluid pressure functional relationships in two- or three-fluid phase porous-media systems subject to monotonic saturation paths. All functions are obtained as simple closed-form expressions convenient for implementation in numerical multiphase-flow models. Model calibration requires only relatively simple determinations of saturation-pressure relations in two-phase systems. A scaling procedure is employed to simplify the description of two-phase saturation-capillary head relations for arbitrary fluid pairs and experimental results for two porous media are presented to demonstrate its applicability. Extension of two-phase relations to three-phase systems is obtained under the assumption that fluid wettability follows themore » sequence water > nonaqueous phase liquid > air.« less
  • Multiphase flow and transport of compositionally complex fluids in geologic media is of important in a number of applied problems which have major social and economic effects. In petroleum reservoir engineering, efficient recovery of energy reserves is the principal goal. Unfortunately, some of these hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals often find their way unwanted into the soils and groundwater supplies. Removal in the latter case is predicated on ensuring the public health and safety. In the paper, principles of modeling fluid flow in systems containing up to three fluid phases (namely, water, air, and organic liquid) are described. Solution ofmore » the governing equations for multiphase flow requires knowledge of functional relationships between fluid pressures, saturations, permeabilities which may be formulated on the basis of conceptual models of fluid-porous media interactions. Mechanisms of transport in multicomponent multiphase systems in which species may partition between phases are also described, and the governing equations are presented for the case in which local phase equilibrium may be assumed. A number of hypothetical numerical problems are presented to illustrate the physical behavior of systems in which multiphase flow and transport arise. (Copyright (c) 1989 by the American Geophysical Union.)« less
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