3 years ago

Pore-network model of evaporation-induced salt precipitation in porous media: The effect of correlations and heterogeneity

Salt transport and precipitation in porous media constitute a set of complex and fascinating phenomena that are of considerable interest to several important problems, ranging from storage of CO2 in geological formations, to soil fertility, and protection of pavements and roads, as well as historical monuments. The phenomena occur at the pore scale and are greatly influenced by the heterogeneity of the pore space morphology. We present a pore-network (PN) model to study the phenomena. Vapor diffusion, capillary effect at the brine-vapor interface, flow of brine, and transport of salt and its precipitation in the pores that plug the pores partially or completely are all accounted for. The drying process is modeled by the invasion percolation, while transport of salt in brine is accounted for by the convective-diffusion equation. We demonstrate that the drying patterns, the clustering and connectivity of the pore throats in which salt precipitation occurs, the saturation distribution, and the drying rate are all strongly dependent upon the pore-size distribution, the correlations among the pore sizes, and the anisotropy of the pore space caused by stratification that most natural porous media contain. In particular, if the strata are more or less parallel to the direction of injection of the gas that dries out the pore space (air, for example) and/or causes salt precipitation (CO2, for example), the drying rate increases significantly. Moreover, salt tends to precipitate in clusters of neighboring pores that are parallel to the open surface of the porous medium.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0309170817302725

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