On Barenblatt’s Model of Spontaneous Countercurrent

by Dmitriy B. Silin, Tadeusz W. Patzek
Year: 2004


Silin, D. B. and Patzek, T. W., “On the Barenblatt model of non-equilibrium imbibition,” Transport in Porous Media, 54 297-322, 2004.


Water imbibition is a critical mechanism of secondary oil recovery from fractured reservoirs. Spontaneous imbibition also plays a significant role in storage of liquid waste by controlling the extent of rock invasion. In the present paper, we extend a model of countercurrent imbibition based on Barenblatt's theory of non-equilibrium two-phase flow by allowing the model's relaxation time to be a function of the wetting fluid saturation. We obtain two asymptotic self-similar solutions, valid at early and late times, respectively. At a very early stage, the time scale characterizing the cumulative volume of imbibed (and expelled) fluid is a power function with exponent between 1.5 and 1. At a later stage, the time scaling for this volume approaches asymptotically classical square root of time, whereas the saturation profile asymptotically converges to Ryzhik's self-similar solution. Our conclusions are verified against experiments. By fitting the laboratory data, we estimate the characteristic relaxation times for different pairs of liquids.


Non-equilibrium Two-phase Flow Countercurrent Imbibition Asymptotic Solution