Capillary displacement and percolation in porous media

Richard Chandler, Joel Koplik, Kenneth Lerman, Jorge F. Willemsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Scopus citations


We consider capillary displacement of immiscible fluids in porous media in the limit of vanishing flow rate. The motion is represented as a stepwise Monte Carlo process on a finite two-dimensional random lattice, where at each step the fluid interface moves through the lattice link where the displacing force is largest. The displacement process exhibits considerable fingering and trapping of displaced phase at all length scales, leading to high residual retention of the displaced phase. Many features of our results are well described by percolation-theory concepts. In particular, we find a residual volume fraction of displaced phase which depends strongly on the sample size, but weakly or not at all on the co-ordination number and microscopic-size distribution of the lattice elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-267
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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