Simulation of Multiphase FLOW at the Pore Scale: Doable, Useful?
Abstract:We discuss the shotcomings of Darcy-scale formulations and constitutive relations for (unstable) immiscible multiphase flow in natural porous media, and we argue for a more rigorous connection between the Darcy-scale representation and the pore-scale dynamics. We then discuss the challenges associated with so-called Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) at the pore scale. The emphasis is on contact-line dynamics for non-zero contact angles. We argue that accurate description of the (1) fluid-fluid and (2) fluid-fluid-solid contact lines, as well as, (3) the hysteretic behavior of immiscible displacement processes are needed before claims that Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of pore-scale physics is doable.
Then, we describe our early attempts to devise a hybrid level-set and volume-of-fluid approach to model the evolution of sharp immiscible interfaces in natural porous media. We also discuss the challenges associated with the translation of two-phase flow dynamics to "Darcy" scales.