06 Dec

Darcy Center Workshop on ‘pore-scale studies of mutiphase flow in porous media’

Utrecht University

Darcy Center Workshop on “Pore-Scale Studies of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media

Pore-scale fluid physics and chemical reactions in porous media play a critical role in the macroscopic processes of interest in a broad range of applications, including hydrocarbon production, geological carbon storage, groundwater contamination, and many other industrial applications, e.g. fuel cells, batteries, and inkjet printing. Modeling and experiments at the pore-scale provide better understanding of the pore-scale phenomena, and provide quantitative information for macroscale models. Thanks to recent advances in computational and imaging techniques, the direct simulation of multiphase flow in porous media has gained much attention. This Darcy Center Workshop is dedicated to bring together scientists who investigate pore-scale multiphase flow in porous media to discuss recent achievements in research and industry.

We seek novel contributions that highlight recent advances in but not limited to direct simulations, pore-network modeling, microfluidic experiments, and non-invasive visualizations of reacting and non-reacting multiphase flow in porous media. Comparisons of modeling with analytical solutions and/or experiments are encouraged. We also particularly invite modeling studies on wetting behavior, multiphase treatment as well as reacting multiphysics systems with no restrictions on the numerical method.

This workshop will be joint with the doctoral defense event of Ioannis Zarikos from Department of Earth Science, Utrecht University. The abstract of his PhD thesis is given below.

For registration and giving an oral talk in the workshop, please contact Dr. Chao-Zhong Qin by email, c.qin@tue.nl

Current invited speakers

Rainer Helmig from Stuttgart University

Majid Hassanizadeh from Utrecht University

John Chatzis from University of Waterloo

Olga VIZIKA-KAVVADIAS fromIFP Energies nouvelles

Andreas Yiotis from Laboratory of the National Center for Scientific Research (NCSR) “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece.



6 and 7 December, 2018


Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Abstract of the PhD thesis

Multiphase flow in porous media is encountered in a number of natural and industrial applications. The formation and flow of discontinuous phases, formed during the evolution of flow, has added to the complexity for the process. For example, in air sparging of polluted groundwater, upward movement of air is in the form of discontinuous bubbles. Similarly, in the course of potential melting of gas hydrates, gas bubbles will exist as a discontinuous phase. Another example relates to the simultaneous movement of water and gasses in various layers of a fuel cell. Another example is this of the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). After the initial water flooding of the reservoir, a significant amount of oil (50% – 70%) still remains trapped in the pore space in the form of disconnected ganglia. The mobilization of these ganglia is of crucial importance in an efficient recovery process with a huge financial impact. Finally, the remediation of soil from Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPLs) also relies on the mobilization of stagnant NAPL ganglia which remain trapped in the soil.

The current models of two-phase flow are based on Darcy’s law, and on the assumption of the continuity of phases. However, as stated above, this assumption does not hold by definition when the formation and flow of the discontinuous phases is studied. In an attempt to describe the flow of discontinuous phases, various theories have been developed and employed, such as the Percolation Theory, the Effective medium theory, in combination with (modified versions of) Darcy’s law. Each of these theories have their limitations in fully describing the flow of discontinuous phase.

Despite the wealth of experimental work and the variety of analytical techniques used for the understanding of the flow of discontinuous phases, there is still important information missing. Such information is this of the pore scale pressure under flow conditions. Pressure measurements and their variations at the pore-scale cannot be measured internally due to the physical limitations of the porous medium itself. Given this, pressure is traditionally measured and/or controlled outside of the porous medium.  In addition to the lack of any pore-scale pressure measurements, there is no information available related to the momentum exchange between the continuous and the disconnected phases, as well as to the flow inside each trapped phase. Since the flow of the continuous phase around the trapped phase controls the fate of the latter, the interaction between the phases is of major importance.

The objective of this study is to combine novel and traditional methods to perform multiphase flow experiments, in order to acquire information at the pore scale for the first time in the literature, so as to get a better understanding of the flow of discontinuous phases. These data can be used for the development and testing of a theory for the macro-scale description of discontinuous two-phase flow involving bubbles and/or droplets.


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