Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 21–46 | Cite as

Effect of Network Topology on Relative Permeability

  • Ji-Youn Arns
  • Vanessa Robins
  • Adrian P. Sheppard
  • Robert M. Sok
  • W. V. Pinczewski
  • Mark A. Knackstedt


We consider the role of topology on drainage relative permeabilities derived from network models. We describe the topological properties of rock networks derived from a suite of tomographic images of Fontainbleau sandstone (Lindquist et al., 2000, J. Geophys. Res.105B, 21508). All rock networks display a broad distribution of coordination number and the presence of long-range topological bonds. We show the importance of accurately reproducing sample topology when deriving relative permeability curves from the model networks. Comparisons between the relative permeability curves for the rock networks and those computed on a regular cubic lattice with identical geometric characteristics (pore and throat size distributions) show poor agreement. Relative permeabilities computed on regular lattices and on diluted lattices with a similar average coordination number to the rock networks also display poor agreement. We find that relative permeability curves computed on stochastic networks which honour the full coordination number distribution of the rock networks produce reasonable agreement with the rock networks. We show that random and regular lattices with the same coordination number distribution produce similar relative permeabilities and that the introduction of longer-range topological bonds has only a small effect. We show that relative permeabilities for networks exhibiting pore–throat size correlations and sizes up to the core-scale still exhibit a significant dependence on network topology. The results show the importance of incorporating realistic 3D topologies in network models for predicting multiphase flow properties.

two-phase flow relative permeability network models topology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji-Youn Arns
    • 1
  • Vanessa Robins
    • 2
  • Adrian P. Sheppard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert M. Sok
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. V. Pinczewski
    • 1
  • Mark A. Knackstedt
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Petroleum EngineeringUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Applied Mathematics, Research School of Physical Sciences and EngineeringAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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