Efficient flow and transport simulations in reconstructed 3D pore geometries

Yan Zaretskiy, Sebastian Geiger, Ken Sorbie, Malte Förster

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    82 Citations (Scopus)


    Upscaling pore-scale processes into macroscopic quantities such as hydrodynamic dispersion is still not a straightforward matter for porous media with complex pore space geometries. Recently it has become possible to obtain very realistic 3D geometries for the pore system of real rocks using either numerical reconstruction or micro-CT measurements. In this work, we present a finite element-finite volume simulation method for modeling single-phase fluid flow and solute transport in experimentally obtained 3D pore geometries. Algebraic multigrid techniques and parallelization allow us to solve the Stokes and advection-diffusion equations on large meshes with several millions of elements. We apply this method in a proof-of-concept study of a digitized Fontainebleau sandstone sample. We use the calculated velocity to simulate pore-scale solute transport and diffusion. From this, we are able to calculate the a priori emergent macroscopic hydrodynamic dispersion coefficient of the porous medium for a given molecular diffusion Dm of the solute species. By performing this calculation at a range of flow rates, we can correctly predict all of the observed flow regimes from diffusion dominated to convection dominated. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1508-1516
    Number of pages9
    JournalAdvances in Water Resources
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Algebraic multigrid
    • Finite element
    • Finite volume
    • Navier-Stokes equation
    • Pore-scale modeling
    • Solute transport


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