Impact of Porous Media and NAPL Spatial Variability at the Pore Scale on Interphase Mass Transfer
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Sherwood number expressions are often used to model NAPL dissolution in porous media. Such expressions are generally derived from meso-scale experiments and expressed in terms of fluid and porous medium properties averaged over some representative volume. In this work a pore network model is used to examine the influence of porous media and NAPL pore scale variability on interphase mass transfer. The focus was on assessing the impact of (i) NAPL saturation, (ii) interfacial area (iii) NAPL spatial distribution at the pore scale, (iv) grain size heterogeneity and (v) REV or domain size on the apparent interphase mass transfer. Variability of both the mass transfer coefficient that explicitly accounts for the interfacial area and the mass transfer coefficient that lumps the interfacial area was examined. It was shown that pore scale NAPL distribution and its orientation relative to the flow direction have significant impact on flow bypassing and the interphase mass transfer coefficient. This results in a complex non-linear relationship between interfacial area and the REV-based interphase mass transfer rate. In other words, explicitly accounting for the interfacial area does not eliminate the variability of the mass transfer coefficient. Moreover, grain size heterogeneity can also lead to a decrease in the interphase mass transfer. It was also shown that, even for explicitly defined flow patterns, changing the domain size over which the mass transfer process is average influences the extent of NAPL bypassing and dilution and, consequently, the interphase mass transfer.