36 Scopus citations


We study the axisymmetric flows generated from fluid injection into a horizontal confined porous medium that is originally saturated with another fluid of different density and viscosity. Neglecting the effects of surface tension and fluid mixing, we use the lubrication approximation to obtain a nonlinear advection-diffusion equation that describes the time evolution of the sharp fluid-fluid interface. The flow behaviors are controlled by two dimensionless groups: M, the viscosity ratio of displaced fluid relative to injected fluid, and Θ, which measures the relative importance of buoyancy and fluid injection. For this axisymmetric geometry, the similarity solution involving R2/T (where R is the dimensionless radial coordinate and T is the dimensionless time) is an exact solution to the nonlinear governing equation for all times. Four analytical expressions are identified as asymptotic approximations (two of which are new solutions): (i) injection-driven flow with the injected fluid being more viscous than the displaced fluid (Θ ≪ 1 and M < 1) where we identify a self-similar solution that indicates a parabolic interface shape; (ii) injection-driven flow with injected and displaced fluids of equal viscosity (Θ ≪ 1 and M = 1), where we find a self-similar solution that predicts a distinct parabolic interface shape; (iii) injection-driven flow with a less viscous injected fluid (Θ ≪ 1 and M > 1) for which there is a rarefaction wave solution, assuming that the Saffman-Taylor instability does not occur at the reservoir scale; and (iv) buoyancy-driven flow (Θ ≫ 1) for which there is a well-known self-similar solution corresponding to gravity currents in an unconfined porous medium [S. Lyle et al. "Axisymmetric gravity currents in a porous medium," J. Fluid Mech. 543, 293-302 (2005)]. The various axisymmetric flows are summarized in a Θ-M regime diagram with five distinct dynamic behaviors including the four asymptotic regimes and an intermediate regime. The implications of the regime diagram are discussed using practical engineering projects of geological CO2 sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and underground waste disposal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022107
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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