Pore-network modeling of Ostwald ripening in porous media: How do trapped bubbles equilibrate?

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Ostwald ripening of trapped bubbles in porous media is relevant to several subsurface (e.g., CO2 storage) and manufacturing (e.g., fuel cells) applications. A fundamental question common to both is: how does an initially heterogeneous distribution of bubble sizes, PDFo, evolves towards a stable equilibrium distribution, PDFe? And what is PDFe? We develop a pore-network model (PNM) that simulates the temporal evolution of a partially miscible population of bubbles from PDFo to PDFe. The PNM is validated against published micromodel experiments. We subsequently propose a theory that can predict PDFe directly. The predictions are compared against PNM simulations and found to be in close agreement. Using the PNM, we also show that bubble equilibration in heterogeneous porous media is a lot slower than homogeneous media. Limitations and potential extensions of both the PNM and the theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111041
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - May 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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