A new treatment of capillarity to improve the stability of IMPES two-phase flow formulation. (English) Zbl 1245.76147

Summary: In this paper, we present an efficient numerical method for two-phase immiscible flow in porous media with different capillarity pressures. In highly heterogeneous permeable media, the saturation is discontinuous due to different capillary pressure functions. One popular scheme is to split the system into a pressure and a saturation equation, and to apply IMplicit Pressure Explicit Saturation (IMPES) approach for time stepping. One disadvantage of IMPES is instability resulting from the explicit treatment for capillary pressure. To improve stability, the capillary pressure is usually incorporated in the saturation equation which gradients of saturation appear. This approach, however, does not apply to the case of different capillary pressure functions for multiple rock-types, because of the discontinuity of saturation across rock interfaces. In this paper, we present a new treatment of capillary pressure, which appears implicitly in the pressure equation. Using an approximation of capillary function, we substitute the implicit saturation equation into the pressure equation. The coupled pressure equation will be solved implicitly and followed by the explicit saturation equation. Five numerical examples are provided to demonstrate the advantages of our approach. Comparison shows that our proposed method is more efficient and stable than the classical IMPES approach.


76T10 Liquid-gas two-phase flows, bubbly flows
76S05 Flows in porous media; filtration; seepage
76D45 Capillarity (surface tension) for incompressible viscous fluids
76M20 Finite difference methods applied to problems in fluid mechanics


Full Text: DOI


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