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Title: Modelling of multicomponent reactive transport on pore space images
Author: Serafini de Oliveira, Thomas David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 9028
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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We present a new model to simulate multispecies reactive transport on pore space images. We solve the Navier-Stokes equations and the advection-diffusion equation for concentration fields on an unstructured grid using the finite volume method. We couple it with the chemical model Reaktoro, which we use to calculate the chemical equilibrium in each grid cell, considered as a completely mixed batch reactor. We validate the model against analytical solutions and experimental data, and investigate, for a range of Péclet numbers, the interplay between transport and reaction for multispecies reactive transport in a 3D bead pack where two streams of reactants at different pH are injected in parallel. We analyse the distribution of species and the rates of formation and consumption and find that, despite the relative homogeneity of the bead pack, the concentration fields of the products can be asymmetric because of the interplay between transport and chemical equilibrium. We observe that lower Péclet numbers give rise to higher relative yields because of increased transverse mixing by diffusion. However, higher absolute yields are obtained at higher injection velocities because of larger amount of matter available for reaction. Reaction is more favoured in the faster-flowing regions. However, this effect is more marked for species for which advection is the dominant mechanism of transport to reactive sites, as opposed to diffusion-mediated reactions where the full velocity distribution is sampled before reaction occurs. Furthermore, we study multispecies mixing and reaction in a more heterogeneous carbonate sample. We use a micro-CT image of Portland limestone containing both macroporosity resolved at the image resolution, and sub-resolution microporosity which is quantified using difference imaging. We extend our solver to accommodate transport and reaction in microporous regions. We demonstrate how the highly variable flow field in carbonate allows reactants and products to disperse more rapidly compared to the more homogeneous bead pack, resulting in a highly non-uniform reaction rate and concentration distribution. This is due to a complex interplay between advection-dominated flow and reaction in the connected fast-flowing macroporous regions, and diffusion-mediated transport and reaction in microporosity. Multispecies mixing and reaction in natural rocks are much more complex than hitherto observed, which needs to be considered in reactive transport studies at different length-scales. Finally, we test the applicability of our code to study dissolution. We first validate our code on multispecies dissolution of a single sphere and a semi-infinite solid. Then, we study dissolution on a micro-CT image composed of dolomite and calcite in ratio 10:1. We find that fast channels are strongly associated with dissolved dolomite, high concentrations of reactants, and low concentrations of products.
Supervisor: Blunt, Martin J. ; Bijeljic, Branko Sponsor: Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral