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Stability of reactive interfaces in saturated porous media under gravity in the presence of transverse flows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2012

S. H. Hejazi
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada
J. Azaiez*
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada
*
Email address for correspondence: azaiez@ucalgary.ca

Abstract

The stability of a horizontal interface between a solution of reactant on top of another solution of reactant is analysed. A chemical product is generated at the interface as a result of a bimolecular chemical reaction . In general, all chemical components are assumed to have different densities and viscosities, and a transverse velocity is introduced parallel to the interface between the reactants. Although the transverse flow is known for its stabilizing effect in viscously unstable non-reactive systems in the presence of an injection velocity, it is shown here that it can actually destabilize an initially stable reactive front. An expression for the critical transverse velocity beyond which an initially stable interface is destabilized is derived in the case of an initial sharp interface for reactants of the same viscosity. The analysis is extended to a diffused profile, and purely buoyancy-driven flows are analysed first in the absence of viscosity contrast and then in the presence of transverse flows and viscosity contrast. Various possible density fingering scenarios are determined based on the relative contribution of each chemical component to the density profile. It is found that the chemical reaction can destabilize a buoyancy-stable initial interface by generating a non-monotonic density profile. Unlike the viscous fingering of a reactive interface, a symmetry in the stability characteristics with respect to density increase or decrease by chemical reaction product is observed in the case of chemically buoyancy-driven flows for identical reactants.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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