Determining effective interfacial tension and predicting finger spacing for DNAPL penetration into water-saturated porous media
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The difficulty in determining the effective interfacial tension limits the prediction of the wavelength of fingering of immiscible fluids in porous media. A method to estimate the effective interfacial tension using fractal concepts was presented by Chang et al. [Water Resour. Res. 30 (1994) 125]. We modified the method in that the macroscopic interface length was used instead of the system width. Methods to determine the macroscopic and the microscopic interface length are given. Lab experiments of dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) penetrating into water-saturated glass beads were carried out in a two-dimensional (2-D) transparent chamber. The displacement processes were recorded using a 35-mm camera or a video camera, which was directly connected to and controlled by a computer. Unlike the method of Chang et al. (1994), the modified method used here gives a constant value of the effective interfacial tension over time. The predicted wavelengths of fingering are relatively close to those observed except for the fine beads.
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