University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Applied Mathematics Seminar Series > Wetting-dewetting hysteresis in porous and fractured media

Wetting-dewetting hysteresis in porous and fractured media

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  • UserRan Holtzman, Coventry University
  • ClockThursday 24 October 2019, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseNuffield G13.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fabian Spill.

Wetting-dewetting hysteresis in porous and fractured media

Hysteretic wetting-dewetting cycles are ubiquitous in various natural and industrial applications, from soil moisture, contamination, carbon sequestration and hydrocarbon recovery to filtering, microfluidics and coating processes. Consequently, the relationship between the key variables in continuum models for multiphase flow (e.g. Richards), capillary pressure and saturation, is hysteretic. Despite its importance, existing retention models remain phenomenological.

We derive a physically-sound model, where all parameters have clear physical meaning. We consider quasi-static displacements in a Hele–Shaw cell of random gap spacing (a simple proxy of a rough fracture), resolving the sequence of interfacial equilibrium configurations from a local pressure balance (energy minima). The model is implemented numerically through simple synchronous updating (RFIM-like) rules of extreme computational efficiency, and validated against laboratory experiments of known, controlled microstructure. Our model provides fundamental understanding of the link between pore-scale capillary processes in disordered media, Haines jumps, and sample-scale hysteresis. Our findings offer constitutive relations required for reservoir simulators, and pave the way for upscaling two-phase displacements in porous and fractured materials.

This talk is part of the Applied Mathematics Seminar Series series.

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