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Capillary Effects on Fluid Transport in Granular Media

Abstract : Fluid transport phenomena in granular media are of great importance due to various natural and industrial applications, including CO2 sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, remediation of contamination, and water infiltration into soil. Although numerous studies exist in the literature with aims to understand how fluid properties and flow conditions impact the transport process, some key mechanisms at microscale are often not considered due to simplifications of physical phenomenon and geometry, limited computational resources, or limited temporal/spacial resolution of existing imaging techniques.In this Thesis, we investigate fluid transport phenomena in granular media with a focus on the capillary effects. We move from relatively simple scenario on patterned surfaces to more complex granular media, tackling a variety of liquid-transport related problems that all have extensive industrial applications. The bulk of this Thesis is composed of six published or submitted papers. Each chapter is prefaced by an introductory section presenting the motivation for the corresponding paper and its context within the greater body of work.In order to explain the characteristics of fluid transport in porous media observed at macroscopic scale, physical mechanisms at micro and pore scale must be understood. When liquid comes into contact with rough grains with irregular shapes, depending on surface feature and liquid properties, the liquid may progressively fill the grooves of the surface, or get pinned at sharp corners, which consequently results in deviation of the effective contact angle from the intrinsic one. These phenomena occurring at nano/micro-scale are captured and incorporated into the pore-network model and lattice Boltzmann method to investigate multiphase displacement process. At pore scale, by considering different invasion instability modes, we study the collective impact of contact angles and pore geometry by numerical simulation, unifying the effects of wettability and topological disorder of porous media. At macroscopic scale, the influence of capillary forces from liquid bridges on the packing structure of wet granular assembly is experimentally studied. A model is proposed based on energy balance to predict the resulting packing fraction, which is validated by results from experiments and past literature. Finally, drying experiments are conducted to investigate the evolution of liquid distribution and solid structure during evaporation process.This Thesis reveals the impact of some previously neglected physical phenomena at microscale on the fluid transport in granular materials, providing new insights and methodology for describing and modelling fluid transport process in porous media.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - 10:10:01 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 3:47:44 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, May 23, 2022 - 6:24:21 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03583905, version 1


Zhongzheng Wang. Capillary Effects on Fluid Transport in Granular Media. Géotechnique. École des Ponts ParisTech, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021ENPC0036⟩. ⟨tel-03583905⟩



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