Forced imbibition in stratified porous media

Nancy B. Lu, Amir A. Pahlavan, Christopher A. Browne, Daniel B. Amchin, Howard A. Stone, Sujit S. Datta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Imbibition plays a central role in diverse energy, environmental, and industrial processes. In many cases, the medium has multiple parallel strata of different permeabilities; however, how this stratification impacts imbibition is poorly understood. We address this gap in knowledge by directly visualizing forced imbibition in three-dimensional (3D) porous media with two parallel strata. We find that imbibition is spatially heterogeneous: for small capillary number Ca, the wetting fluid preferentially invades the fine stratum, while for Ca above a threshold value, the fluid instead preferentially invades the coarse stratum. This threshold value depends on the medium geometry, the fluid properties, and the presence of residual wetting films in the pore space. These findings are well described by a linear stability analysis that incorporates crossflow between the strata. Thus, our work provides quantitative guidelines for predicting and controlling flow in stratified porous media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 Virtual AIChE Annual Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Chemical Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9780816911141
StatePublished - 2020
Event2020 AIChE Annual Meeting - Virtual, Online
Duration: Nov 16 2020Nov 20 2020

Publication series

NameAIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings


Conference2020 AIChE Annual Meeting
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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