Particle Image Velocimetry Analysis in Micromodels to Investigate Two-Phase Flow Mechanisms

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Sophie Roman, Cyprien Soulaine and Anthony R Kovscek, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
The inherent instabilities in two-phase displacements play a key role in the process of carbon dioxide sequestration. Thus, a fundamental understanding of two-phase unstable flows in porous media across a range of length and time scales is essential. However, the dynamics at the pore scale remains relatively unknown and influences macroscale behaviors. In that context, experiments in simplified porous media were performed in order to investigate pore scale mechanisms. The dynamics of fluid displacement in porous media were captured with Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV).

The experimental apparatus includes 2D etched micromodels connected to a syringe pump and placed under a microscope for flow visualization. The micromodels contain an etched flow pattern composed of circular grains homogeneously distributed or composed of a sandstone replica pattern. The fluids under study are seeded with polymer microparticles and image sequences of the flow are recorded. The motion of the seeding particles is used to calculate the velocity field of the flow with PIV algortithms.

The PIV measurements were first validated for single phase flow. For that purpose, experiments were performed where water and microparticles flowed through the micromodels. The PIV measurements were compared to 2D direct numerical simulations of the flow through the different geometries under consideration. Experiments and numerical simulations show a good agreement. PIV measurements are quantitatively validated to investigate flow mechanisms at the pore scale. Then, the feasibility of PIV measurements for two-phase flow in micromodels has been demonstrated and we can now use this technique with confidence to investigate multiphase flow dynamics. Experiments in micromodels will henceforth allow the validation of two-phase flow simulation, in fact no reliable numerical works have been published at this scale for multiphase flows.