Image-Based Pore-Scale Modeling Using the Finite Element Method

N. Lane — K. E. Thompson

Cain Department of Chemical EngineeringLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge, LA

ABSTRACT. Image-based pore-scale modeling is a powerful computational tool for investigating transport in porous geologic materials. Network modeling has been the main tool for pore-scale modeling in the past, with the lattice-Boltzmann method becoming prevalent more recently. The finite element method offers significant advantages because of its ability to operate in multiscale and multiphysics frameworks. We perform image-based modeling of single phase flow in a Berea sandstone to begin understanding issues associated with domain size and mesh refinement. Results suggest a characteristic scale for permeability of approximately 1 mm for the Berea sample. Mesh coarsening is shown to affect both porosity and permeability. However, the flow patterns remain qualitatively consistent (with the same pores taking the dominant flow) between the meshes.


KEYWORDS: finite element, Berea, permeability, image-based, meshing, refinement

1. Introduction

Modeling of porous geologic materials such as reservoir rocks, marine sands, soils, etc. can be performed at two scales: the pore scale or the continuum scale. Pore scale models distinguish the void and solid phases and represent a more fundamental approach to modeling transport in porous media. Alternatively, continuum-scale models treat ...

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