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Title: Pore-Scale and Multiscale Numerical Simulation of Flow and Transport in a Laboratory-Scale Column

Pore-scale models are useful for studying relationships between fundamental processes and phenomena at larger (i.e., Darcy) scales. However, the size of domains that can be simulated with explicit pore-scale resolution is limited by computational and observational constraints. Direct numerical simulation of pore-scale flow and transport is typically performed on millimeter-scale volumes at which X-ray computed tomography (XCT), often used to characterize pore geometry, can achieve micrometer resolution. In contrast, the scale at which a continuum approximation of a porous medium is valid is usually larger, on the order of centimeters to decimeters. Furthermore, laboratory experiments that measure continuum properties are typically performed on decimeter-scale columns. At this scale, XCT resolution is coarse (tens to hundreds of micrometers) and prohibits characterization of small pores and grains. We performed simulations of pore-scale processes over a decimeter-scale volume of natural porous media with a wide range of grain sizes, and compared to results of column experiments using the same sample. Simulations were conducted using high-performance codes executed on a supercomputer. Two approaches to XCT image segmentation were evaluated, a binary (pores and solids) segmentation and a ternary segmentation that resolved a third category (porous solids with pores smaller than the imaged resolution). Wemore » used a mixed Stokes-Darcy simulation method to simulate the combination of Stokes flow in large open pores and Darcy-like flow in porous solid regions. Simulations based on the ternary segmentation provided results that were consistent with experimental observations, demonstrating our ability to successfully model pore-scale flow over a column-scale domain.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
48205; KP1702030
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Water Resources Research, 51(2):1023-1035
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
simulation; pore scale; modeling; CFD; x-ray microtomography; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory