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Simulation of Viscous Fingering Phenomenon Using CFD Tools

[+] Author Affiliations
Diana González, Miguel Asuaje

Universidad Simón Bolivar, Sartenejas, Venezuela

Paper No. IMECE2014-36896, pp. V007T09A001; 9 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Fluids Engineering Systems and Technologies
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4954-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The world energy crisis requires better and better oil production processes. Oil is stored inside a porous medium in reservoirs several kilometers below the earth’s surface. Over the years, the study and understanding of the physics and fluid phenomena occurring within the porous media have been of great interest. A very common phenomenon within the porous media that has significant impact on production is what is known as viscous fingering. Viscous fingering is an instability that occurs at the interface between two fluids of different viscosity, under certain conditions of speed and pressure, this phenomenon results in undesired production of water together with oil. Experiments and analytical models, trying to reproduce and predict the conditions under which the fingering appears, have extensively studied this phenomenon. The aim of this study is to simulate the phenomenon of viscous fingering using computational fluid dynamics tools. A 2D CFD model of an Oil-Water mixture inside a porous medium using commercial software ANSYS FLUENT v.14 was created. In this model, water enters at a rate of 0.15cm/s to an oil-filled domain. Water drives the oil and forms finger-shaped patterns. It was possible to represent the phenomena using CFD tools. Results show a similar behaviour to that obtained by Brock et al (1991): as fingers grew, they spread transversely, split into smaller fingers, coalesced and blocked the growth of other fingers. It was also observed that water fingers have greater velocity, showing its preferential flow through the formed channels and thus leading to inefficient oil extraction.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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