Capillary Desaturation Curve for Residual Nonwetting Phase in Natural Fractures
- Bander I. AlQuaimi (Delft University of Technology and Saudi Aramco) | William R. Rossen (Delft University of Technology)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- June 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 788 - 802
- 2018.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Two phase flow in fracture, Capillary Number, Desaturation curves, Residual-Nonwetting phase trapping
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 347 since 2007
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The displacement of a nonwetting phase by a wetting phase is characterized by the capillary number. Different forms of capillary number have been used in the literature for flow in porous media. A capillary number for a single rock fracture has been defined in the literature, using the mean aperture to characterize the trapping and mobilization in a fracture.
We propose a new capillary-number definition for fractures that incorporates geometrical characterization of the fracture, dependent on the force balance on a trapped ganglion. The new definition is validated with laboratory experiments using five distinctive model fractures. The model fractures are made of glass plates, with a wide variety of hydraulic apertures, degrees of roughness, and correlation lengths of the roughness. The fracture surfaces were characterized in detail and statistically analyzed. The aperture distribution of each model fracture was represented as a 2D network of pore bodies connected by throats. The hydraulic aperture of each model fracture was measured experimentally. Capillary desaturation curves (CDCs) were generated experimentally using water/air in forced imbibition. The transparent nature of the system permits us to determine the residual air saturation as a function of pressure gradient from the captured images.
The residual nonwetting saturation/capillary-number relationship obtained from different fractures varying in aperture and roughness can be represented approximately by a single curve in terms of the new definition of the capillary number. They do not fit a single trend using the conventional definition of the capillary number.
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