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Title: Miscible flow through porous media
Author: Booth, Richard J. S.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is concerned with the modelling of miscible fluid flow through porous media, with the intended application being the displacement of oil from a reservoir by a solvent with which the oil is miscible. The primary difficulty that we encounter with such modelling is the existence of a fingering instability that arises from the viscosity and the density differences between the oil and solvent. We take as our basic model the Peaceman model, which we derive from first principles as the combination of Darcy’s law with the mass transport of solvent by advection and hydrodynamic dispersion. In the oil industry, advection is usually dominant, so that the Péclet number, Pe, is large. We begin by neglecting the effect of density differences between the two fluids and concentrate only on the viscous fingering instability. A stability analysis and numerical simulations are used to show that the wavelength of the instability is proportional to Pe^−1/2, and hence that a large number of fingers will be formed. We next apply homogenisation theory to investigate the evolution of the average concentration of solvent when the mean flow is one-dimensional, and discuss the rationale behind the Koval model. We then attempt to explain why the mixing zone in which fingering is present grows at the observed rate, which is different from that predicted by a naive version of the Koval model. We associate the shocks that appear in our homogenised model with the tips and roots of the fingers, the tip-regions being modelled by Saffman-Taylor finger solutions. We then extend our model to consider flow through porous media that are heterogeneous at the macroscopic scale, and where the mean flow is not one dimensional. We compare our model with that of Todd & Longstaff and also models for immiscible flow through porous media. Finally, we extend our work to consider miscible displacements in which both density and viscosity differences between the two fluids are relevant.
Supervisor: Ockendon, John R. ; Farmer, Chris L. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fluid mechanics (mathematics) ; Geophysics (mathematics) ; viscous fingering ; miscible ; Saffman-Taylor ; enhanced oil recovery