Characteristics of fluid–fluid displacement in model mixed-wet porous media: patterns, pressures and scalings Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We study numerically the characteristics of fluid–fluid displacement in simple mixed-wet porous micromodels using a dynamic pore network model. The porous micromodel consists of distinct water-wet and oil-wet regions, whose fractions are varied systematically to yield a variety of displacement patterns over a wide range of capillary numbers. We find that the impact of mixed-wettability is most prominent at low capillary numbers, and it depends on the complex interplay between wettability fraction and the intrinsic contact angle of the water-wet regions. For example, the fractal dimension of the displacement pattern is a monotonically increasing function of wettability fraction in flow cells with strongly water-wet clusters, but it becomes non-monotonic with respect to wettability fraction in flow cells with weakly water-wet clusters. Additionally, mixed-wettability also manifests itself in the injection pressure signature, which exhibits fluctuations especially at low wettability fraction. Specifically, preferential filling of water-wet regions leads to reduced effective permeability and higher injection pressure, even at vanishingly small capillary numbers. Finally, we demonstrate that scaling analyses based on a weighted average description of the overall wetting state of the mixed-wet system can effectively capture the variations in observed displacement pattern morphology.


  • Irannezhad, Ashkan
  • Primkulov, Bauyrzhan K
  • Juanes, Ruben
  • Zhao, Benzhong

publication date

  • July 25, 2023