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Mineral dissolution and wormholing from a pore-scale perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 August 2017

Cyprien Soulaine*
Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 95305, USA
Sophie Roman
Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 95305, USA
Anthony Kovscek
Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 95305, USA
Hamdi A. Tchelepi
Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 95305, USA
Email address for correspondence:


A micro-continuum approach is proposed to simulate the dissolution of solid minerals at the pore scale under single-phase flow conditions. The approach employs a Darcy–Brinkman–Stokes formulation and locally averaged conservation laws combined with immersed boundary conditions for the chemical reaction at the solid surface. The methodology compares well with the arbitrary-Lagrangian–Eulerian technique. The simulation framework is validated using an experimental microfluidic device to image the dissolution of a single calcite crystal. The evolution of the calcite crystal during the acidizing process is analysed and related to the flow conditions. Macroscopic laws for the dissolution rate are proposed by upscaling the pore-scale simulations. Finally, the emergence of wormholes during the injection of acid in a two-dimensional domain of calcite grains is discussed based on pore-scale simulations.

© 2017 Cambridge University Press 

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