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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Investigation of representing hysteresis in macroscopic models of two-phase flow in porous media using intermediate scale experimental data

  • Author(s): Cihan, A
  • Birkholzer, J
  • Trevisan, L
  • Gonzalez-Nicolas, A
  • Illangasekare, T
  • et al.

© 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Incorporating hysteresis into models is important to accurately capture the two phase flow behavior when porous media systems undergo cycles of drainage and imbibition such as in the cases of injection and post-injection redistribution of CO2during geological CO2storage (GCS). In the traditional model of two-phase flow, existing constitutive models that parameterize the hysteresis associated with these processes are generally based on the empirical relationships. This manuscript presents development and testing of mathematical hysteretic capillary pressure—saturation—relative permeability models with the objective of more accurately representing the redistribution of the fluids after injection. The constitutive models are developed by relating macroscopic variables to basic physics of two-phase capillary displacements at pore-scale and void space distribution properties. The modeling approach with the developed constitutive models with and without hysteresis as input is tested against some intermediate-scale flow cell experiments to test the ability of the models to represent movement and capillary trapping of immiscible fluids under macroscopically homogeneous and heterogeneous conditions. The hysteretic two-phase flow model predicted the overall plume migration and distribution during and post injection reasonably well and represented the postinjection behavior of the plume more accurately than the nonhysteretic models. Based on the results in this study, neglecting hysteresis in the constitutive models of the traditional two-phase flow theory can seriously overpredict or underpredict the injected fluid distribution during post-injection under both homogeneous and heterogeneous conditions, depending on the selected value of the residual saturation in the nonhysteretic models.

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