Experimental Investigation of Rate Effects on Two-Phase Flow through Fractured Rocks Using X-ray Computed Tomography

C. H. Lee — Z. T. Karpyn

The Pennsylvania State UniversityDepartment of Energy and Mineral Engineering110 Hosler BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802-5000USACul169@psu.eduZKarpyn@psu.edu

ABSTRACT. Capillarity, gravity and viscous forces control the migration of fluids in geologic formations. However, experimental work addressing the impact of injection flow rate in fractured core samples is limited. Understanding how injection flow rate affects fracture-matrix transfer mechanisms and invasion front evolution in fractured geomaterials are of crucial importance to modeling and prediction of multiphase ground flow. In this study, we monitor and analyze transfer mechanisms in a rock sample with a single tensile horizontal fracture using medical X-ray computed tomography. The impact of different injection rates on the resulting fluid recovery and saturation maps is evaluated through visual and quantitative analyses. Results from this investigation provide a comprehensive set of data for the validation of numerical models and strengthen fundamental understanding of multiphase flow in fractured rocks.


KEYWORDS: fractured rocks, multiphase flow, capillarity, x-ray computed tomography

1. Introduction

Structural characteristics of fractures such as the aperture and orientation affect fluid migration in fractured systems. For instance, Karpyn, et al. (2009) found that bedding ...

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