Samaneh Vahid Dastjerdi, Nikolaos Karadimitriou, Holger Steeb et al. just published their work in Water Resources Research:
This study aims to experimentally investigate the possibility of combining two extended continuum theories for two-phase flow. One of these theories considers interfacial area as a separate state variable, and the other explicitly discriminates between connected and disconnected phases. This combination enhances our potential to effectively model the apparent hysteresis, which generally dominates two-phase flow. Using optical microscopy, we perform microfluidic experiments in quasi-2D artificial porous media for various cyclic displacement processes and boundary conditions. Specifically for a number of sequential drainage processes, with detailed image (post-)processing, pore-scale parameters such as the interfacial area between the phases (wetting, non-wetting, and solid), and local capillary pressure, as well as macroscopic parameters like saturation, are estimated. We show that discriminating between connected and disconnected clusters and the concept of the interfacial area as a separate state variable can be an appropriate way of modeling hysteresis in a two-phase flow scheme. The drainage datasets of capillary pressure, saturation, and specific interfacial area, are plotted as a surface, given by f (Pc, sw, awn) = 0. These surfaces accommodate all data points within a reasonable experimental error, irrespective of the boundary conditions, as long as the corresponding liquid is connected to its inlet. However, this concept also shows signs of reduced efficiency as a modeling approach in datasets gathered through combining experiments with higher volumetric fluxes. We attribute this observation to the effect of the porous medium geometry on the phase distribution. This yields further elaboration, in which this speculation is thoroughly studied and analyzed.
Please cite as
S. Vahid Dastjerdi, N. Karadimitriou, S. M. Hassanizadeh and H. Steeb. Experimental Evaluation of Fluid Connectivity in Two-Phase Flow in Porous Media During Drainage. Water Resources Research, 58, 2022, Doi: 10.1029/2022WR033451