Inertial Effects in Two-Phase Flow Through Fractures

Abstract : Different approaches for modeling inertial effects during single-phase and two-phase flows through a fracture are presented: inertial factor, passability and Lockhart-Martinelli models. These different approaches are then used to interpret experiments for air/water flow through a rough fracture. For these two-phase flow experiments, the standard relative permeabilities (no inertial terms) are not only functions of the saturation but also of the flow rate ratio. This family of curves at high velocity can be seen as a criterion for the presence of inertial effects. By taking account of inertial effects, the inertial factor and passability models are similar and provide a good representation of the experimental data. However, four unknown parameters must be determined and the models cannot be used for prediction without further research. The Lockhart-Martinelli approach has only two parameters to fit and can be used for prediction. An empirical law used for porous media in chemical engineering agrees within 20% with air/water experiments without any additional adjustment of parameters. For the three approaches, the use of the ratio of the flow rates as variable instead of the saturation gives better results.
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M. Fourar, R. Lenormand. Inertial Effects in Two-Phase Flow Through Fractures. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2000, 55 (3), pp.259-268. ⟨10.2516/ogst:2000018⟩. ⟨hal-02054031⟩

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