Viscous fingering is ubiquitous in miscible displacements in porous media, in particular, oil recovery, contaminant transport in aquifers, chromatography separation, and geological CO2
sequestration. The viscosity contrasts between heavy oil and water is several orders of magnitude larger than typical viscosity contrasts considered in the majority of the literature. We use the finite element method (FEM)-based COMSOL Multiphysics simulator to simulate miscible displacements in homogeneous porous media with very large viscosity contrasts. Our numerical model is suitable for a wide range of viscosity contrasts covering chromatographic separation as well as heavy oil recovery. We have successfully captured some interesting and previously unexplored dynamics of miscible blobs with very large viscosity contrasts in homogeneous porous media. We study the effect of viscosity contrast on the spreading and the degree of mixing of the blob. Spreading (variance of transversely averaged concentration) follows the power law
for the blobs with viscosity
and higher, while degree of mixing is found to vary non-monotonically with log-mobility ratio. Moreover, in the limit of very large viscosity contrast, the circular blob behaves like an erodible solid body and the degree of mixing approaches the viscosity-matched case.
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