Comparison of Modeling and Experimental Approaches for Improved Modeling of Filtration in Granular and Consolidated Media
Abstract:Filtration is relevant to many disciplines from colloid transport in environmental engineering to formation damage in petroleum engineering. In this study we compare the results of the novel numerical modeling of filtration phenomenon on pore scale with the complementary experimental observations on laboratory scale and discuss how the results of comparison can be used to improve macroscale filtration models for different porous media. The water suspension contained glass beads of 200 micron diameter and flows through a packing of 1mm diameter glass beads, and thus the main filtration mechanism is straining and jamming of particles. The numerical model simulates the flow of suspension through a realistic 3D structure of an imaged, disordered sphere pack, which acts as the filter medium. Particle capture through size exclusion and jamming is modeled via a coupled Discrete Element Method (DEM) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) approach. The coupled CFD-DEM approach is capable of modeling the majority of particle-particle, particle-wall, and particle-fluid interactions. Note that most of traditional approaches require spherical particles both in suspension and the filtration medium. We adapted the interface between the pore space and the spherical grains to be represented as a triangulated surface and this allows extensions to any imaged media.
The numerical and experimental results show that the filtration coefficient of the sphere pack is a function of the flow rate and concentration of the suspension, even for constant total particle flow rate. An increase in the suspension flow rate results in a decrease in the filtration coefficient, which suggests that the hydrodynamic drag force plays the key role in hindering the particle capture in random sphere packs. Further, similar simulations of suspension flow through a sandstone sample, which has a tighter pore space, show that filtration coefficient remains almost constant at different suspension flow rates. This indicates that a balance between jamming mechanism for particle capture and hydrodynamic drag force for particle mobilization is more likely to take place in tighter porous media. Finally, we show preliminary simulations of surface forces that are required for this method to be applicable to wider range of sizes of suspended particulates.