Phase connectivity in pore-network models for capillary-driven flow

Dmytro Petrovskyy*, Marinus I. J. van Dijke, Zeyun Jiang, Sebastian Geiger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Pore-network representations of permeable media provide the framework for explicit simulation of capillary-driven immiscible displacement governed by invasion-percolation theory. The most demanding task of a pore-network flow simulation is the identification of trapped defending phase clusters at every displacement step, i.e. the phase connectivity problem. Instead of employing the conventional adjacency list we represent the connectivity of a phase cluster as a tree accompanied by a set of adjacent non-tree edges. In this graph representation, a decrease in phase connectivity due to a pore displacement event corresponds to deletion of either a tree or a non-tree edge. Deletion of a tree edge invokes a computationally intensive search for a possible reconnection of the resulting subtrees by an adjacent non-tree edge. The tree representation facilitates a highly efficient execution of the reconnection search. Invasion-percolation simulations of secondary water floods under different wetting conditions in pore-networks of different origin and size confirm the efficiency of the proposed phase connectivity algorithm. Moreover, a systematic simulation study of runtime growth with increasing model size on regular lattice networks demonstrates a consistent orders-of-magnitude speed-up compared to conventional simulations. Consequently, the proposed algorithm proves to be a powerful tool for invasion-percolation simulations on large multi-scale networks and for extensive stochastic analysis of typical single-scale pore-networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103776
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Early online date8 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Invasion-percolation
  • Phase connectivity
  • Pore-network modelling
  • Simulation runtime growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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