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RelativepermeabilityWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Relativepermeability
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Inmultiphaseflowinporousmedia,therelativepermeabilityofaphaseisadimensionlessmeasureof
theeffectivepermeabilityofthatphase.Itistheratiooftheeffectivepermeabilityofthatphasetothe
absolutepermeability.ItcanbeviewedasanadaptationofDarcy'slawtomultiphaseflow.
Fortwophaseflowinporousmediagivensteadystateconditions,wecanwrite

where istheflux,
isthepressuredrop,
parametersareforphase .

istheviscosity.Thesubscript indicatesthatthe

isherethephasepermeability(i.e.,theeffectivepermeabilityofphase ),asobservedthroughthe
equationabove.
Relativepermeability,

,forphase isthendefinedfrom

,as

where isthepermeabilityoftheporousmediuminsinglephaseflow,i.e.,theabsolutepermeability.
Relativepermeabilitymustbebetweenzeroandone.
Inapplications,relativepermeabilityisoftenrepresentedasafunctionofwatersaturationhowever,
owingtocapillaryhysteresisoneoftenresortstoafunctionorcurvemeasuredunderdrainageand
anothermeasuredunderimbibition.
Underthisapproach,theflowofeachphaseisinhibitedbythepresenceoftheotherphases.Thusthe
sumofrelativepermeabilitiesoverallphasesislessthan1.However,apparentrelativepermeabilities
largerthan1havebeenobtainedsincetheDarceanapproachdisregardstheviscouscouplingeffects
derivedfrommomentumtransferbetweenthephases(seeassumptionsbelow).Thiscouplingcould
enhancetheflowinsteadofinhibitit.Thishasbeenobservedinheavyoilpetroleumreservoirswhenthe
gasphaseflowsasbubblesorpatches(disconnected).[1]

Contents
1 Assumptions
2 Approximations
2.1 Coreytype
2.2 LETtype
3 Seealso
4 References
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Assumptions
TheaboveformforDarcy'slawissometimesalsocalledDarcy'sextendedlaw,formulatedfor
horizontal,onedimensional,immisciblemultiphaseflowinhomogeneousandisotropicporousmedia.
Theinteractionsbetweenthefluidsareneglected,sothismodelassumesthatthesolidporousmediaand
theotherfluidsformanewporousmatrixthroughwhichaphasecanflow,implyingthatthefluidfluid
interfacesremainstaticinsteadystateflow,whichisnottrue,butthisapproximationhasprovenuseful
anyway.
Eachofthephasesaturationmustbelargerthantheirreduciblesaturation,andeachphaseisassumed
continuouswithintheporousmedium.

Approximations
Basedonexperimentaldata,simplifiedmodelsofrelativepermeabilityasafunctionofwatersaturation
canbeconstructed.

Coreytype
AnoftenusedapproximationofrelativepermeabilityistheCoreycorrelationwhichispowerlawinthe
watersaturation .[2][3]If
(alsodenoted
,or
,or
)istheirreducible(minimal)water
saturation,and
istheresidual(minimal)oilsaturationafterwaterflooding(notethatitistheoil
saturation),wecandefineanormalized(orscaled)watersaturationvalue

TheCoreycorrelationsoftherelativepermeability
ofoilandwaterarethen
and

whenthepermeabilitybasisisoilwithirreducible
waterpresent.

Normalizationofwatersaturationvalues

Wenotethedesiredproperties

Theempiricalparameters
and
canbeobtainedfrommeasureddataeitherbyoptimizingto
analyticalinterpretationofmeasureddata,orbyoptimizingusingacoreflownumericalsimulatorto
matchtheexperiment(oftencalledhistorymatching). =
issometimesappropriate.The
physicalproperty
iscalledtheendpointofthewaterrelativepermeability,anditisobtainedeither
beforeortogetherwiththeoptimizingof and
.

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Incaseofgaswatersystemorgasoilsystemthere
areCoreycorrelationssimilartotheoilwater
relativepermeabilitiescorrelationsshownabove.

LETtype
TheCoreyapproximationonlyhasonedegreeof
freedomfortheoilrelativepermeabilityandtwo
degreesoffreedomforthewaterpermeability(in
).TheLETcorrelation[4]addsmoredegreesof
freedominordertoaccommodatetheshapeof
measuredrelativepermeabilitycurvesinSCAL
experiments.
TheLETtypeapproximationisdescribedby3
parametersL,E,T.Thecorrelationforwaterandoil
relativepermeabilitywithwaterinjectionisthus

ExampleofCoreyapproximationinnormalized
coordinates,here
=
.

and

writtenusingthesame
Corey.

normalizationasfor

Only
,
and
havedirectphysical
meaning,whiletheparametersL,EandTare
empirical.TheparameterLdescribesthelowerpart
ExampleofLETcorrelationwithL,E,Tallequal
ofthecurve,andbysimilarityandexperiencetheL
to2,and
.Normalized
valuesarecomparabletotheappropriateCorey
coordinates.
parameter.TheparameterTdescribestheupperpart
(orthetoppart)ofthecurveinasimilarwaythatthe
Lparameterdescribesthelowerpartofthecurve.TheparameterEdescribesthepositionoftheslope
(ortheelevation)ofthecurve.Avalueofoneisaneutralvalue,andthepositionoftheslopeis
governedbytheLandTparameters.IncreasingthevalueoftheEparameterpushestheslopetowards
thehighendofthecurve.DecreasingthevalueoftheEparameterpushestheslopetowardsthelower
endofthecurve.ExperienceusingtheLETcorrelationindicatesthefollowingreasonablerangesforthe
parametersL,E,andT:L1,E>0andT0.5.
IncaseofgaswatersystemorgasoilsystemthereareLETcorrelationssimilartotheoilwaterrelative
permeabilitiescorrelationsshownabove.

Seealso
Permeability(earthsciences)
Capillarypressure
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Imbibition
Drainage
BuckleyLeverettequation

References
1.M.C.Bravo,M.Araujo/InternationalJournalofMultiphaseFlow34(2008)447460
2.R.H.BrooksandA.T.Corey(1964)."Hydraulicpropertiesofporousmedia".HydrologicalPapers
(ColoradoStateUniversity)3.
3.A.T.Corey(Nov1954)."TheInterrelationBetweenGasandOilRelativePermeabilities".Prod.Monthly19
(1):3841.
4.LomelandF.,EbeltoftE.andHammervoldThomasW."ANewVersatileRelativePermeabilityCorrelation".
ReviewedProceedingsofthe2005InternationalSymposiumoftheSCA,AbuDhabi,UnitedArabEmirates,
October31November2,2005,SCA200532.

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