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Heat Transfer Research
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Heat Transfer Research

DOI: 10.1615/HeatTransRes.2017016840
pages 1023-1039

THREE-DIMENSIONAL FINGERING STRUCTURE ASSOCIATED WITH GRAVITATIONALLY UNSTABLE MIXING OF MISCIBLE FLUIDS IN POROUS MEDIA

Shigeki Sakai
Department of Energy Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 G3-31, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
Yuji Nakanishi
Department of Mechano-Aerospace Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 G3-31, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
Akimitsu Hyodo
Department of Energy Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 G3-31, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
Lei Wang
Department of Energy Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 G3-31, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
Tetsuya Suekane
Department of Energy Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 G3-31, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan

ABSTRACT

In the geological carbon dioxide (CO2) capture storage (CCS), the dissolution of CO2 into brine formation increases the storage security against potential leakage due to buoyancy. The density-driven natural convection between the brine and CO2 solution plays an important role in the process of dissolution in geological formations. We visualized convective mixing of miscible fluids due to the density difference in a packed bed of particles by means of an X-ray computer tomography scanning a system where the lower light layer is four times thicker than the upper dense layer. On the interface, the fingering structure associated with the Rayleigh-Taylor instability is formed. For a packed bed with particles of equal diameter, the structure of the formed fingers tends to be fine and the number density of the fingers increases with the Rayleigh number Ra. However, even for fine particles, although Ra is low, a fine fingering structure is formed. The fingers that merge with neighboring fingers to form a continuous structure extend with time and coalesce with the neighboring fingers, thereby increasing their diameter and reducing their number density. The mechanical dispersion has a strong impact on the broadening of the finger diameters and the merging process with neighboring fingers. The Sherwood number, a dimension-less measure of convective flux, is correlated with Ra with a power of 0.86. The Sherwood number for the three-dimensional Rayleigh-Taylor instability is a few times higher than those evaluated for the Rayleigh-Benard convection.


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