Description: A better understanding of multiphase flow through fractures requires knowledge of the detailed physics of interfacial flows at the microscopic pore scale. The objective of our project was to develop tools for the simulation of such phenomena. Complementary work was performed by a group led by Dr.~Paul Meakin of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. Our focus was on the lattice-Boltzmann (LB) method. In particular, we studied both the statics and dynamics of contact lines where two fluids (wetting and non-wetting) meet solid boundaries. Previous work had noted deficiencies in the way LB methods simulate such interfaces. Our work resulted in significant algorithmic improvements that alleviated these deficiencies. As a result, we were able to study in detail the behavior of the dynamic contact angle in flow through capillary tubes. Our simulations revealed that our LB method reproduces the correct scaling of the dynamic contact angle with respect to velocity, viscosity, and surface tension, without specification of an artificial slip length. Further study allowed us to identify the microscopic origin of the dynamic contact angle in LB methods. These results serve to delineate the range of applicability of multiphase LB methods to flows through complex geometries.
Date: December 12, 2006
Creator: Rothman, Daniel H.
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