Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Chair in Petroleum Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 6500m.blunt Website




2.38ARoyal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Gao, Y and Lin, Q and Bijeljic, B and Blunt, MJ},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.013801},
journal = {Physical Review Fluids},
pages = {1--12},
title = {Pore-scale dynamics and the multiphase Darcy law},
url = {},
volume = {5},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Synchrotron x-ray microtomography combined with sensitive pressure differential measurements were used to study flow during steady-state injection of equal volume fractions of two immiscible fluids of similar viscosity through a 57-mm-long porous sandstone sample for a wide range of flow rates. We found three flow regimes. (1) At low capillary numbers, Ca, representing the balance of viscous to capillary forces, the pressure gradient, ∇P, across the sample was stable and proportional to the flow rate (total Darcy flux) qt (and hence capillary number), confirming the traditional conceptual picture of fixed multiphase flow pathways in porous media. (2) Beyond Ca∗≈10−6, pressure fluctuations were observed, while retaining a linear dependence between flow rate and pressure gradient for the same fractional flow. (3) Above a critical value Ca>Cai≈10−5 we observed a power-law dependence with ∇P∼qat with a≈0.6 associated with rapid fluctuations of the pressure differential of a magnitude equal to the capillary pressure. At the pore scale a transient or intermittent occupancy of portions of the pore space was captured, where locally flow paths were opened to increase the conductivity of the phases. We quantify the amount of this intermittent flow and identify the onset of rapid pore-space rearrangements as the point when the Darcy law becomes nonlinear. We suggest an empirical form of the multiphase Darcy law applicable for all flow rates, consistent with the experimental results.
AU - Gao,Y
AU - Lin,Q
AU - Bijeljic,B
AU - Blunt,MJ
DO - 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.013801
EP - 12
PY - 2020///
SN - 2469-990X
SP - 1
TI - Pore-scale dynamics and the multiphase Darcy law
T2 - Physical Review Fluids
UR -
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 5
ER -