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Spontaneous imbibition in porous media: comparisons between a dynamic pore-network model and a VOF direct numerical simulation model
  • Chao-Zhong Qin,
  • Harald van Brummelen,
  • Mahmoud Hefny
Chao-Zhong Qin
Eindhoven University of Technology

Corresponding Author:chaozhong.qin@gmail.com

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Harald van Brummelen
Technology University of Eindhoven
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Mahmoud Hefny
ETH Zurich
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The dynamic pore-network modeling, as an efficient pore-scale tool, has been used to understand spontaneous imbibition in porous media, which plays an important role in many subsurface applications. In this work, we aim to compare a dynamic pore-network model of spontaneous imbibition with the VOF (volume of fluid) model. The µCT scanning of a porous medium of sintered glass beads is selected as our study domain. We extract its pore network by using an open-source software of PoreSpy, and further project the extracted information of individual watersheds into multiform idealized pore elements. A number of case studies of primary spontaneous imbibition have been conducted by using both the pore-network and the VOF models under different wettability values and viscosity ratios. We compare those model predictions in terms of imbibition rates and temporal saturation profiles along the flow direction. We show that the pore-network model can reproduce the VOF model results for an air-water system, in which water is the wetting phase. For a more viscous nonwetting phase such as oil, however, the pore-network model predicts a slower imbibition process and a rougher wetting front, in comparison to the predictions by the VOF model.