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Institut für Wasser- und Umweltsystemmodellierung - IWS



"Horizontal Redistribution of Two Fluid Phases in a Porous Medium: Experimental Investigations"

Abstract Classical models for flow and transport processes in porous media employ the socalled extended Darcy’s Law. Originally, it was proposed empirically for one-dimensional isothermal flow of an incompressible fluid in a rigid, homogeneous, and isotropic porous medium. Nowadays, the extended Darcy’s Law is used for highly complex situations like non-isothermal, multi-phase and multi-component flow and transport, without introducing any additional driving forces. In thiswork, an alternative approach by Hassanizadeh andGray identifying additional driving forces were tested in an experimental setup for horizontal redistribution of two fluid phases with an initial saturation discontinuity. Analytical and numerical solutions based on traditional models predict that the saturation discontinuity will persist, but a uniform saturation distribution will be established in each subdomain after an infinite amount of time. The pressure field, however, is predicted to be continuous throughout the domain at all times and is expected to become uniform when there is no flow. In our experiments, we also find that the saturation discontinuity persists. But, gradients in both saturation and pressure remain in both subdomains even when the flow of fluids stops. This indicates that the identified additional driving forces present in the truly extended Darcy’s Law are potentially significant.
Keywords Validity of Darcy’s Law · Additional driving forces · Two-phase flow · Horizontal redistribution