The traditional model of solid dissolution in porous media consists of three dissolution regimes (uniform, compact, wormhole)—or patterns—that are established depending on the relative dominance of reaction rate, flow, and diffusion. In this work, we investigate the evolution of pore structure using numerical simulations during acid injection on two models of increasing complexity. We investigate the boundaries between dissolution regimes and characterize the existence of a fourth dissolution regime called channeling, where initially fast flow pathways are preferentially widened by dissolution. Channeling occurs in cases where the distribution in pore throat size results in orders of magnitude differences in flow rate for different flow pathways. This focusing of dissolution along only dominant flow paths induces an immediate, large change in permeability with a comparatively small change in porosity, resulting in a porosity–permeability relationship unlike any that has been previously seen. This work suggests that the traditional conceptual model of dissolution regimes must be updated to incorporate the channeling regime for reliable forecasting of dissolution in applications like geothermal energy production and geologic carbon storage.
- Models, Theoretical