Multiphase flow in capillary regimes is a fundamental process in a number of geoscience applications. The ability to accurately define wetting characteristics of porous media can have a large impact on numerical models. In this paper, a newly developed automated three-dimensional contact angle algorithm is described and applied to high-resolution X-ray microtomography data from multiphase bead pack experiments with varying wettability characteristics. The algorithm calculates the contact angle by finding the angle between planes fit to each solid/fluid and fluid/fluid interface in the region surrounding each solid/fluid/fluid contact point. Results show that the algorithm is able to reliably compute contact angles using the experimental data. The in situ contact angles are typically larger than flat surface laboratory measurements using the same material. Wetting characteristics in mixed-wet systems also change significantly after displacement cycles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology