skip to main content


Title: Influence of phase connectivity on the relationship among capillary pressure, fluid saturation, and interfacial area in two-fluid-phase porous medium systems

Here, multiphase flow in porous medium systems is typically modeled using continuum mechanical representations at the macroscale in terms of averaged quantities. These models require closure relations to produce solvable forms. One of these required closure relations is an expression relating fluid pressures, fluid saturations, and, in some cases, the interfacial area between the fluid phases, and the Euler characteristic. An unresolved question is whether the inclusion of these additional morphological and topological measures can lead to a non-hysteretic closure relation compared to the hysteretic forms that are used in traditional models, which typically do not include interfacial areas, or the Euler characteristic. We develop a lattice-Boltzmann (LB) simulation approach to investigate the equilibrium states of a two-fluid-phase porous medium system, which include disconnected now- wetting phase features. The proposed approach is applied to a synthetic medium consisting of 1,964 spheres arranged in a random, non-overlapping, close-packed manner, yielding a total of 42,908 different equilibrium points. This information is evaluated using a generalized additive modeling approach to determine if a unique function from this family exists, which can explain the data. The variance of various model estimates is computed, and we conclude that, except for the limiting behavior close tomore » a single fluid regime, capillary pressure can be expressed as a deterministic and non-hysteretic function of fluid saturation, interfacial area between the fluid phases, and the Euler characteristic. This work is unique in the methods employed, the size of the data set, the resolution in space and time, the true equilibrium nature of the data, the parameterizations investigated, and the broad set of functions examined. The conclusion of essentially non-hysteretic behavior provides support for an evolving class of two-fluid-phase flow in porous medium systems models.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3]
  1. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0002163
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review E
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 94; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0045
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1315862