Slip-flow in complex porous media as determined by a multi-relaxation-time lattice Boltzmann model

Monday, 15 December 2014
Masa Prodanovic1, Christopher James Landry2 and Peter Eichhubl2, (1)University of Texas, Austin, TX, United States, (2)University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States
The pores and throats of shales and mudrocks are predominantly found within a range of 1-100 nm, within this size range the flow of gas at reservoir conditions will fall within the slip-flow and low transition-flow regime (0.001 < Kn < 0.5). Currently, the study of slip-flows is for the most part limited to simple tube and channel geometries, however, the geometry of mudrock pores is often sponge-like (organic matter) and/or platy (clays). Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can be used to predict slip-flow in complex geometries, but due to prohibitive computational demand are generally limited to small volumes (one to several pores). Here we present a multi-relaxation-time lattice Boltzmann model (LBM) parameterized for slip-flow (Guo et al. 2008) and adapted here to complex geometries. LBMs are inherently parallelizable, such that flow in complex geometries of significant (near REV-scale) volumes can be readily simulated at a fraction of the computational cost of MD simulations. At the macroscopic-scale the LBM is parameterized with local effective viscosities at each node to capture the variance of the mean-free-path of gas molecules in a bounded system. The corrected mean-free-path for each lattice node is determined using the mean distance of the node to the pore-wall and Stop’s correction for mean-free-paths in an infinite parallel-plate geometry. At the microscopic-scale, a combined bounce-back specular-reflection boundary condition is applied to the pore-wall nodes to capture Maxwellian-slip. The LBM simulation results are first validated in simple tube and channel geometries, where good agreement is found for Knudsen numbers below 0.1, and fair agreement is found for Knudsen numbers between 0.1 and 0.5. More complex geometries are then examined including triangular-ducts and ellipsoid-ducts, both with constant and tapering/expanding cross-sections, as well as a clay pore-network imaged from a hydrocarbon producing shale by sequential focused ion-beam scanning electron microscopy. These results are analyzed to determine grid-independent resolutions, and used to explore the relationship between effective permeability and Knudsen number in complex geometries.