Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 449–468 | Cite as

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


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.


Surfactant flooding Sweep efficiency Wettability alteration Multiphase flow Shan-and-Chen-type 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0747585. The authors would also like to thank Soheil Saraji of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, The University of Wyoming for providing interfacial tension measurements. The authors acknowledge the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin for providing HPC resources that have contributed to the research results reported within this paper. URL:


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bureau of Economic GeologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, EMS Energy InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Engineering TechnologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  4. 4.Centro de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería, Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias AplicadasUniversidad de OrientePuerto La CruzVenezuela

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