A lattice Boltzmann study on the impact of the geometrical properties of porous media on the steady state relative permeabilities on two-phase immiscible flows

Duo Zhang, K. Papadikis*, Sai Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


In the current paper, the effect of the geometrical characteristics of 2-D porous media on the relative permeability in immiscible two-phase flows is studied. The generation of the different artificial porous media is performed using a Boolean model based on a random distribution of overlapping circles/ellipses, the size and shape of which are chosen to satisfy the specific Minkowski functionals (i.e. volume fraction, solid line contour length, connectivity). The study aims to identify how each different Minkowski functional affects the relative permeability of each phase at various saturations of the non-wetting phase. A 2-D multi-relaxation time (MRT) lattice Boltzmann model (LBM) that can handle high density ratios is employed in the simulation. The relationship between the driving forces G and the relative permeabilities of the two phases for every artificial structure is quantified. It is found that for high non-wetting phase saturations (fully connected flow), a non-linear relationship exists between the non-wetting phase flow rate and the driving force, whilst this relationship becomes linear at higher magnitudes of the latter. The force magnitude required to approach the linear region is highly influenced by the pore size distribution and the connectivity of the solid phase. For lower non-wetting phase saturation values, its relative permeability in the linear regime decreases as the fraction of small pores in the structure increases and the non-wetting phase flow becomes disconnected. A strong influence of the solid phase connectivity is also observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Boolean model
  • MRT Lattice Boltzmann method
  • Minkowski functionals
  • Porous media
  • Relative permeability

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