Interface pinning of immiscible gravity-exchange flows in porous media Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We study the gravity-exchange flow of two immiscible fluids in a porous medium and show that, in contrast with the miscible case, a portion of the initial interface remains pinned at all times. We elucidate, by means of micromodel experiments, the pore-level mechanism responsible for capillary pinning at the macroscale. We propose a sharp-interface gravity-current model that incorporates capillarity and quantitatively explains the experimental observations, including the x~t(1/2) spreading behavior at intermediate times and the fact that capillarity stops a finite-release current. Our theory and experiments suggest that capillary pinning is potentially an important, yet unexplored, trapping mechanism during CO(2) sequestration in deep saline aquifers.


  • Zhao, Benzhong
  • MacMinn, Christopher W
  • Szulczewski, Michael L
  • Neufeld, Jerome A
  • Huppert, Herbert E
  • Juanes, Ruben

publication date

  • February 2013