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Identification of Channeling in Pore-Scale Flows

: Siena, M.; Iliev, O.; Prill, T.; Riva, M.; Guadagnini, A.


Geophysical research letters 46 (2019), No.6, pp.3270-3278
ISSN: 0094-8276
ISSN: 1944-8007
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITWM ()

We quantify flow channeling at the microscale in three-dimensional porous media. The study is motivated by the recognition that heterogeneity and connectivity of porous media are key drivers of channeling. While efforts in the characterization of this phenomenon mostly address processes at the continuum scale, it is recognized that pore-scale preferential flow may affect the behavior at larger scales. We consider synthetically generated pore structures and rely on geometrical/topological features of subregions of the pore space where clusters of velocity outliers are found. We relate quantitatively the size of such fast channels, formed by pore bodies and pore throats, to key indicators of preferential flow and anomalous transport. Pore-space spatial correlation provides information beyond just pore size distribution and drives the occurrence of these velocity structures. The latter occupy a larger fraction of the pore-space volume in pore throats than in pore bodies and shrink with increasing flow Reynolds number.