Multiphase Flows in Porous Media

In a loose definition, a phase is a liquid, solid or gas separated of another liquid, solid or gas by a recognizable boundary, such as a gas bubble immersed into a water portion or oil droplets transported by a gaseous stream. In turn, fluid flows that have an interface and are made up by more than a unique phase are called multiphase flows.

Porous media, on the other hand, are formed by a solid matrix (grains) plus cavities (pores), either interconnected or as isolated vugs. To have multiphase flows in a porous medium, it is mandatory that at least one phase is mobile, since the porous matrix is assumed immobile, and the pores are sufficiently connected to form paths that allow the fluid to move through them.

One of the utmost challenges in multiphase flow modelling in porous media is due to the interface capture (or tracking) formed between two phases, as well as the ability to represent all the physical process occurring in a real situation with high fidelity, such as mixture, heat and mass exchange, gradients and jumps of the hydrodynamic properties.

The fundamentals of this field are the conservation principles (mass and energy), as well as the momentum and differential or integral equations that describe chemical reactions, interfacial transport and even electromagnetic interactions that might take place between two phases.

At LaMEP, this research line addresses the following topics:

  • Multiphase computational fluid dynamics
  • Numerical methods for PDEs
  • Flow simulation and scientific visualization 
  • Parallel and high-performance computing