Experimental and numerical investigation of two- Phase flow in a fracture under confining pressure

Noriaki Watanabe, Keisuke Sakurai, Takuya Ishibashi, Noriyoshi Tsuchiya

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Relative permeability measurement of decane-water two-phase flow was conducted in a fracture, created in granite, at confining pressures of 5 MPa and 10 MPa. Non-wetting phase (decane) relative permeability decreased with decreasing capillary pressure, indicating significant phase interference due to capillarity in two-phase flow through a rock fracture under confining pressure. Moreover, the relative permeability was much smaller at the same capillary pressure for the higher confining pressure, indicating that the phase interference became much more significant at a higher confining pressure. Consequently, the X modeland the viscous coupling model, ignoring any phase interference and phase interference due to capillarity, respectively, were expected to be inappropriate for a fracture under confining pressure, emphasizing importance of evaluating two-phase fracture flow characteristics under confining pressure. However, it is difficult to measure phase saturation within a fracture under confining pressure. Consequently, a numerical non-steady-state two-phase fracture flow model, which considers influences of both viscosity and capillarity, was developed to determine a relative permeability-saturation-capillary pressure relation for the fracture aperture distribution under confining pressure. The model, which could be verified by experimental results, provided relative permeability curves, which wereentirely different from the X model, the viscous coupling model, and even the Corey model. Moreover, an application of the model for air-water two-phase fracture flow provided a similar conclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event18th Formation Evaluation Symposium of Japan 2012 - Chiba, Japan
Duration: 2012 Sept 272012 Sept 28


Conference18th Formation Evaluation Symposium of Japan 2012


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