We develop a numerical simulation that uses the lattice Boltzmann method to directly calculate the characteristics of residual nonwetting-phase clusters to quantify capillary trapping mechanisms in real sandstone. For this purpose, a digital-rock-pore model reconstructed from micro-CT-scanned images of Berea sandstone is filtered and segmented into a binary file. The residual-cluster distribution is generated following simulation of the drainage and imbibition processes. The characteristics of the residual cluster in terms of size distribution, major length, interfacial area, and sphericity are investigated under conditions of different interfacial tension (IFT). Our results indicate that high interfacial tension increases the residual saturation and leads to a large size distribution of residual clusters. However, low interfacial tension results in a larger interfacial area, which is beneficial for dissolution and reaction processes during geological carbon storage. Analysis of the force balance acting on the residual clusters demonstrates that trapping stability is higher in high interfacial tension case, and the interfacial tension should be a controlling factor for the trapping stability in addition to the pore geometry and connectivity. The proposed numerical method can handle the complex displacement of multicomponent systems in porous media. By using this method, we can obtain residual-cluster distributions under different conditions for optimizing the storage capacity of carbon-storage projects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Authors: Dr. Fei Jiang, Assoc. Prof. Takeshi Tsuji