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Condition for Break-up of Non-Wetting Fluids in Sinusoidally Constricted Capillary Channels

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Abstract

Analysis of capillary-pressure distribution in single channels with sinusoidal profile shows that surface tension-driven flow in such channels is controlled by the pressure extrema at their “crests” and “troughs”. Formulating the geometric condition for the pressure in the troughs to exceed that in the crests leads to a simple criterion for the spontaneous break-up of the non-wetting fluid in the necks of the constrictions. The criterion reduces to the condition for the Plateau-Rayleigh instability as a limiting case. Similar pressure analysis is applicable to the case of a non-wetting fluid invading an open pore body. Computational-fluid-dynamics experiments have verified the validity of the break-up predicted from the capillary-pressure argument. Although the geometric criterion for the break-up is valid for small capillary numbers, it provides a common framework in which the results of various published studies of a non-wetting phase choke-off in capillary constrictions for a wide range of capillary numbers can be explained and understood.

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Correspondence to Igor A. Beresnev.

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Beresnev, I.A., Li, W. & Vigil, R.D. Condition for Break-up of Non-Wetting Fluids in Sinusoidally Constricted Capillary Channels. Transp Porous Med 80, 581 (2009) doi:10.1007/s11242-009-9381-6

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Keywords

  • Fluid break-up
  • Instability
  • Capillary flow
  • Porous channels