Preliminary Investigation on the Use of 3D Printed Micromodels to Investigate Multiphase Flow Processes in Visualisation Experiments

Alexandros Patsoukis Dimou, Mohamed Arab, Julien Maes, Sebastian Geiger, Eric Mackay, Thomas McGravie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Three dimensional (3D) printed micromodels are transparent devices with connected pore networks enabling the visualisation of fluid flow dynamics. Visualisation is vital to understand and to enable targeting the investigation of specific flow processes cheaply and reliably. As a far reaching aim, the use of 3D printed micromodels may enable the development of physically more consistent Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models for pore-scale multiphase flow modelling. Impermeable regions of 3D printed micromodels can be given either sharp or smooth edges. This paper investigates the quality of the quasi-2D micromodels printed using a 3D printer as a function of the sharpness/smoothness of the impermeable regions. If this is a contributing factor, multiphase flow experiments will not capture the physics of the investigated processes. Instead, the experiments will be dictated by the flow geometry obtained from the 3D printer, and will be an indication that 3D printing technology must improve before reliable investigations are possible. It is unknown if the results from 3D printing will even be repeatable for the same geometry, and whether they will be in agreement in simple single phase systems. Single phase flow experiments can definitely be understood and captured using CFD modelling. Any experimental results deviating from the CFD modelling calculations will be a result of the experimental setup. Hence, they are implemented in this preliminary investigation. In the preliminary investigations described in this paper, single phase flow experiments were conducted in which propagation of tracer through two simple print geometries (smooth and rough edges) will be investigated. It will be followed by the comparison with CFD numerical results. In the absence of any deviations between the experimental observations and the numerical CFD results, this work can form the basis for multiphase flow investigations in which flow through a 3D printed micromodel is undergoing validation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2018
EventAGU Fall Meeting 2018 - Washington, D. C., United States
Duration: 10 Dec 201814 Dec 2018


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington, D. C.


  • 1829 Groundwater hydrology
  • HYDROLOGYDE: 5112 Microstructure
  • PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF ROCKSDE: 5114 Permeability and porosity
  • PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF ROCKSDE: 5139 Transport properties


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