A segregated algorithm for simulating chemical dissolution front Instabilities in fluid-saturated porous rocks

Chongbin Zhao, Bruce E. Hobbs, Alison Ord

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

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    Abstract

    When fresh pore-fluid flow enters a solute-saturated porous medium, where the concentration of the solute (i.e. aqueous mineral) reaches its equilibrium concentration, the concentration of the aqueous mineral is diluted so that the solid part of the solute (i.e. solid mineral) is dissolved to maintain the equilibrium state of the solution. This chemical dissolution process can result in the propagation of a dissolution front within the fluid-saturated porous medium. Due to the dissolution of the solid mineral, the porosity of the porous medium is increased behind the dissolution front. Since a change in porosity can cause a remarkable change in permeability, there is a feedback effect of the porosity change on the pore-fluid flow, according to Darcy's law. It is well known that because pore-fluid flow plays an important role in the process of reactive chemical-species transport, a change in pore-fluid flow can cause a considerable change in the chemical-species concentration within the porous medium (Steefel and Lasaga 1990, 1994, Yeh and Tripathi 1991, Raffensperger and Garven 1995, Shafter et al. 1998a, b, Xu et al. 1999, 2004, Ormond and Ortoleva 2000, Chen and Liu 2002, Zhao et al. 2005a, 2006c). This means that the problem associated with the propagation of a dissolution front is a fully coupled nonlinear problem between porosity, pore-fluid pressure and reactive chemical-species transport within the fluid-saturated porous medium. If the fresh pore-fluid flow is slow, the feedback effect of the porosity change is weak so that the dissolution front is stable. However, if the fresh pore-fluid flow is fast enough, the feedback effect of the porosity change becomes strong so that the dissolution front becomes unstable. In this case, a new morphology (i.e. dissipative structure) of the dissolution front can emerge due to the self-organization of this coupled nonlinear system. This leads to an important scientific problem, known as the reactive infiltration instability problem (Chadam et al. 1986, 1988, Ortoleva et al. 1987), which is closely associated with mineral dissolution in a fluid-saturated porous medium.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFundamentals of Computational Geoscience
    Subtitle of host publicationNumerical Methods and Algorithms
    EditorsChongbin Zhao, Bruce Hobbs, Alison Ord, Alison Ord
    PublisherSpringer-Verlag Wien
    Pages95-119
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Print)9783540897422
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2009

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Earth Sciences
    Volume122
    ISSN (Print)0930-0317

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    Zhao, C., Hobbs, B. E., & Ord, A. (2009). A segregated algorithm for simulating chemical dissolution front Instabilities in fluid-saturated porous rocks. In C. Zhao, B. Hobbs, A. Ord, & A. Ord (Eds.), Fundamentals of Computational Geoscience: Numerical Methods and Algorithms (pp. 95-119). (Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences; Vol. 122). Springer-Verlag Wien. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-89743-9_5