Numerical simulation of flow and transport in porous media
In this project, we will conduct direct numerical simulations of fluid flow and transport in porous media related to two research topics: 1) water loss during hydraulic fracturing (funded by RPSEA); 2) slip flow of gases through nanopores (funded by ACS PRF). Water loss during hydraulic fracturing operations raises severe concerns not only because the lost water held in the formation reduces the permeability and the productivity, but also because of large consumptions of fresh water as a valuable resource. In this RPSEA-funded research topic, we will conduct both experiments and pore-scale numerical simulations to study water loss due to capillary retention in porous media. Slip flow of gases through nanopores is relevant to production of natural gas from unconventional resources such as shale gas and tight gas sand. These resources are termed "unconventional" because of their extremely low permeability. The hydrocarbon molecules are confined in pores from a few nanometers to hundreds of nanometers, where flow is severely influenced by surface-fluid interaction and non-continuum effects. Slip flow model is an important model that account for the non-continuum effect when the pore size becomes close to the size of the mean free path of hydrocarbon molecules. In this ACS-funded research topic, we will implement slip flow model to an existing parallelized flow simulator and systematically characterize the effect of slip. The computational resources requested will be used to 1) simulate invasion of hydraulic fracturing fluid into the formation and the subsequent flow back driven by formation pressure, and 2) effect of slip on the permeability of gases.
The code is developed in house and is not a commercial package.