Asymmetric invasion in anisotropic porous media
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

We report and discuss, by means of pore-scale numerical simulations, the possibility of achieving a directional-dependent two-phase flow behavior during the process of invasion of a viscous fluid into anisotropic porous media with controlled design. By customising the pore-scale morphology and heterogeneities with the adoption of anisotropic triangular pillars distributed with quenched disorder, we observe a substantially different invasion dynamics according to the direction of fluid injection relative to the medium orientation, that is depending if the triangular pillars have their apex oriented (flow aligned) or opposed (flow opposing) to the main flow direction. Three flow regimes can be observed: (i) for low values of the ratio between the macroscopic pressure drop and the characteristic pore-scale capillary threshold, i.e., for Δp0/pc≤1, the fluid invasion dynamics is strongly impeded and the viscous fluid is unable to reach the outlet of the medium, irrespective of the direction of injection; (ii) for intermediate values, 1<Δp0/pc≤2, the viscous fluid reaches the outlet only when the triangular pillars are flow-opposing oriented; (iii) for larger values, i.e., for Δp0/pc>2, the outlet is again reached irrespective of the direction of injection. The porous medium anisotropy induces a lower effective resistance when the pillars are flow-opposing oriented, suppressing front roughening and capillary fingering. We thus argue that the invasion process occurs as long as the pressure drop is larger then the macroscopic capillary pressure determined by the front roughness, which in the case of flow-opposing pillars is halved. We present a simple approximated model, based on Darcy's assumptions, that links the macroscopic effective permeability with the directional-dependent front roughening, to predict the asymmetric invasion dynamics. This peculiar behavior opens up the possibility of fabrication of porous capillary valves to control the flow along certain specific directions.


Dario Maggiolo

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Strömningslära

Francesco Picano

Università di Padova

Federico Toschi

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

Physical Review E

24700045 (ISSN) 24700053 (eISSN)

Vol. 104 4 045103

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Europeiska kommissionen (EU) (EC/H2020/790744), 2019-01-09 -- 2021-01-08.


Hållbar utveckling

Innovation och entreprenörskap


Subatomär fysik

Matematisk analys


Grundläggande vetenskaper


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)



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