Pore-Scale Lattice Boltzmann Modeling and 4D X-ray Computed Microtomography Imaging of Fracture-Matrix Fluid Transfer

C. J. Landry, Z. T. Karpyn, O. Ayala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We present sequential X-ray computed microtomography (CMT) images of matrix drainage in a fractured, sintered glass-granule-pack. Sequential (4D) CMT imaging captured the capillary-dominated displacement of the oil-occupied matrix by the surfactant-brine-occupied fracture at the pore scale. The sintered glass-granule-pack was designed to have minimal pore space beyond the resolution of CMT imaging, ensuring that the pore space of the matrix connected to the fracture could be captured in its entirety. This provided an opportunity to validate the increasingly common lattice Boltzmann modeling technique against experimental images at the pore scale. Although the surfactant was found to alter the wettability of the originally weakly oil-wet glass to water-wet, the fracture-matrix fluid transfer is found to be a drainage process, showing minimal counter-current migration of the initial wetting phase (decane). The LB simulations were found to closely match experimental rates of fracture-matrix fluid transfer, and trends in the saturation profiles, but not the irreducible wetting-phase saturation behind the flooding front. The underestimation of the irreducible wetting phase saturation suggests that finer image and lattice resolutions than those reported here may be required for accurate prediction of some macroscale multiphase flow properties, at a sizable computational cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-468
Number of pages20
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemical Engineering


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