Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 359–383 | Cite as

Numerical Analysis of Imbibition Front Evolution in Fractured Sandstone under Capillary-Dominated Conditions



Fractures serve as primary conduits having a great impact on the migration of injected fluid into fractured permeable media. Appropriate transport properties such as relative permeability and capillary pressure are essential for successful simulation and prediction of multi-phase flow in such systems. However, the lack of a thorough understanding of the dynamics governing immiscible displacement in fractured media, limits our ability to properly represent their macroscopic transport properties. Previous experimental observations of imbibition front evolution in fractured rocks are examined in the present study using an automated history-matching approach to obtain representative relative permeability and capillary pressure curves. Predicted imbibition front evolution under different flow conditions resulted in an excellent agreement with experimental observations. Sensitivity analyses, in combination with direct experimental observation, allowed exploring the competing effects of relative permeability and capillary pressure on the development of saturation distribution and imbibing front evolution in fractured porous media. Results show that residual saturations are most sensitive to matrix relative permeability to oil, while the ratio of oil and water relative permeability, rock heterogeneity, boundary condition, and matrix–fracture capillary pressure contrast, affect displacement shape, speed, and geometry of the imbibing front.


Imbibition Computed tomography Fractures Capillarity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, EMS Energy InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.CPC CorporationTaipei CityTaiwan

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