Understanding the role of wettability distribution on pore-filling and displacement patterns in a homogeneous structure via quasi 3D pore-scale modelling

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Abstract

Most numerical simulation studies have focused on the effect of homogenous wettability on fluid flow dynamics; however, most rocks display spatially heterogeneous wettability. Therefore, we have used direct numerical simulations (DNS) to investigate wettability heterogeneity at pore-scale. We have built a quasi-3D pore-scale model and simulated two-phase flow in a homogenous porous media with homogenous and heterogeneous wettability distributions. Five different heterogeneous wettability patterns were used in this study. We observed that heterogenous wettability significantly affects the evolution of fluid interface, trapped saturation, and displacement patterns. Wettability heterogeneity results in fingering and specific trapping patterns which do not follow the flow behaviour characteristic of a porous medium with homogenous wettability. This flow behaviour indicates a different flow regime that cannot be estimated using homogenous wettability distributions represented by an average contact angle. Moreover, our simulation results show that certain spatial configurations of wettability heterogeneity at the microscale, e.g. being perpendicular to the flow direction, may assist the stability of the displacement and delay the breakthrough time. In contrast, other configurations such as being parallel to the flow direction promote flow instability for the same pore-scale geometry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17847
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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