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Pore-scale visualization and characterization of viscous dissipation in porous media

Abstract : Hypothesis The effects of mutual transfer of momentum between two immiscible flowing fluids in porous media are not well understood nor predictable yet. From considerations at the pore-scale, it should be possible to determine whether and to what extent interfacial viscous coupling effects are significant. Experiments We visualize the velocity distributions inside immobile globules of wetting phase (water) while a non-wetting phase (oil) is injected. We investigate viscous coupling effects and their relationship with the viscosity ratio and the capillary number. Findings Four regimes of viscous dissipation are identified: (i) a regime for which the fluid-fluid interface acts as a solid wall; (ii) a regime where the wetting phase is dragged in the direction of the imposed flow; (iii) and (iv) two regimes for which the trapped globule of water shows a recirculating motion due to the shear stress at the oil/water interface. We demonstrate the significant role of the lubricating effect and of the topology of the pore space on the magnitude of viscous dissipation. Importantly, for a viscosity ratio close to one and low capillary number, we demonstrate that viscous coupling effects should be incorporated into the existing Darcy’s law formulation for two-phase flow in porous media.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 9:23:24 AM
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Sophie Roman, Cyprien Soulaine, Anthony Kovscek. Pore-scale visualization and characterization of viscous dissipation in porous media. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Elsevier, 2020, 558, pp.269-279. ⟨10.1016/j.jcis.2019.09.072⟩. ⟨insu-02332808⟩

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