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Petro physics

Capillary Pressure
Capillary End effect

Name: Nalluri Viswanath
• Capillary pressure curves show a marked hysteresis
depending on whether the curve is determined under a
drainage process or an imbibition process.
• After completing measurements of capillary pressure for
primary drainage, the direction of saturation change can be
reversed, and another capillary pressure relationship can be
measured—it is usually called an imbibition relationship.
• The primary drainage and imbibition relationships generally
differ significantly for a gas/water system. This difference is
called capillary pressure hysteresis.

• At any wetting phase saturation,
the drainage capillary pressure is
higher than the imbibition
capillary pressure.

• At a capillary pressure of zero, the
spontaneous imbibition curve
terminates at a wetting phase
saturation that may or may not
correspond to the true residual
non-wetting phase saturation
depending on the wettability of
the rock.
Cycles of capillary pressure

Capillary pressure hysteresis can be explained in a variety of ways.

1. Energy considerations
2. Contact Angle
3. Displacement
4. Pore structure

Energy considerations
• It was shown from energy considerations that more work is required
for a non-wetting phase to displace a wetting phase than for a
wetting phase to displace a non-wetting phase.
• This means that at any level of saturation, more work is required
during the drainage capillary pressure measurement than during the
imbibition measurement.
• So the capillary pressure on the drainage cycle will be greater than on
the imbibition cycle to displace the same volume of fluid.
Contact Angle
• During drainage, the wetting phase recedes from the porous
medium and the contact angle is the receding contact angle,
• During imbibition, the wetting phase advances into the
porous medium and the contact angle is the advancing
contact angle, θA.
• Since θR is less than θA, 2σcosθR /rm, the drainage capillary
pressure, is larger than 2σcosθA /rm, the imbibition capillary
pressure at the same saturation state.
• When the capillary pressure experiment is reversed to
measure the spontaneous imbibition curve, the pressure in
the non-wetting phase is reduced to allow the wetting phase
to be imbibed.
• As the wetting phase is imbibed into the rock, some non-
wetting phase will be trapped in certain pores.
• This trapping causes the wetting phase saturation on the
imbibition curve to be less than on the drainage curve at the
same capillary pressure.
Pore Structure
• During drainage, the pore is initially full of the wetting fluid at a
capillary pressure. Next, the capillary pressure is increased to a higher
value to drain some of the wetting fluid.
• Next, we consider the imbibition process. At c, the capillary pressure
is high at a wetting phase saturation of nearly zero. After the wetting
fluid has been imbibed to the equilibrium level, the imbibition
capillary pressure will be approximately the same as the drainage
capillary pressure of Drainage capillary pressure, because the mean
curvature of the interfaces at c and d are about the same.
• However, the wetting phase saturation at d is considerably lower than
at b. Thus, at the same capillary pressure, the wetting phase
saturation for imbibition is less than for drainage. This is hysteresis.
Pore Structure

Drainage and imbibition capillary pressure curves showing the type of fluid
Capillary Imbibition
a) Consider a reservoir consisting of two layers with different
permeabilities and capillary pressure curves as shown in figure.
b) Initially, both layers are in capillary equilibrium at their
respective irreducible water saturations.
c) Water flooding the two layers.
Capillary Imbibition
Capillary End Effect
• During steady-state, immiscible displacement in the bulk of the core
plug there is a constant saturation and the capillary pressure
corresponds to it.

• At the outflow face, however, the capillary pressure is zero and hence
the wetting phase saturation is one.

• Therefore, whatever the wetting phase saturation is in the bulk core,
at the outflow end face it approaches 1. we observe more wetting
phase coming out than it would be according to the bulk saturation
condition. This is called "end capillary effect".

Mathematical Analysis of Capillary End
• Darcy's law for the wetting and non-wetting phases is given by

• (7.42) (7.43)

• Let us define the relative permeability's of the wetting and non-
wetting phases as

• (7.44) (7.45)
• Eqs.(7.42) and (7.43) can be written in terms of the relative
permeabilities as

• (7.46) (7.47)

• Capillary equilibrium gives (7.48)

• Assuming incompressible fluids, then (7.49)

• the saturation constraint gives (7.51)

• Subtracting Eq.(7.46) from (7.47) and rearranging gives
• Substituting Eqs.(7.48) and (7.49) into (7.52) gives upon rearrangement

• (7.53)

• Let the true fractional flow of the wetting phase be defined as
• (7.54)

• Let an approximate fractional flow of the wetting phase be defined as

• (7.55)
• Both f
and F
are functions of saturation. Substituting Eqs.(7.54)
and (7.55) into (5.53) gives the true fractional flow of the wetting
phase as
• (7.57) (7.58)

• Let the spontaneous imbibition capillary pressure curve be given in
terms of its Leverett J-function as
• (7.59)

• Substituting Eqs.(7.58) and (7.59) into (7.57) gives the true fractional
flow of the wetting phase as

• (7.60)

• The term in the inner bracket on the right side of Eq.(7.60) is a
dimensionless number
• (7.61)

• Substituting Eq.(7.61) into (7.60) gives
• (7.62)

• Let the dimensionless time be defined as

• (7.63)
• Substituting Eq.(7.63) into (7.50) gives the continuity equation for the
wetting phase as (7.64)

• Substituting Eq.(7.62) into (7.64) gives
• (7.66)

• Let us examine in detail the fractional flow of the wetting phase at the
outlet end of the core. Applied to the outlet end of the core, Eq.(7.62)
can be written as

• (7.67)
• J
is the J-function inside the porous medium, J

is the J-function
outside the porous medium and δx
is a small distance in the
neighborhood of the outlet end of the porous medium
• (7.69)

• Depending on the values of N
, k
, and J
, it is possible for the
following inequality to prevail during the displacement:

• (7.70)
• IF (7.71)

• Then (7.72)

• at the outlet end of the core. Because the fractional flow of the
wetting phase is zero at the outlet end of the core, the wetting phase
cannot flow out of the core but instead will accumulate there raising
the wetting phase saturation to an abnormal level. This is the capillary
end effect phenomenon at work.
• How can capillary end effect be eliminated from the experiment? The
condition for eliminating the capillary end effect is obtained from
Eq.(7.69) as
• (7.75) or (7.76)
• Thus, N
should be as small as possible in the experiment to
eliminate capillary end effect.
• The only means to control N
in the experiment is through the
injection rate, q. Examination of Eq.(7.61) shows that N
can be
made small by the use of a high injection rate in the experiment.
Substituting Eq.(7.61) into (7.76) gives the condition for the injection
rate to eliminate capillary end effect as

• (7.78)
Experimental Evidence of Capillary End
• Perkins (1957) has presented experimental data that show capillary
end effect at work. He conducted waterfloods in laboratory cores at
two rates, one below the critical rate for capillary end effect and one
above the critical rate.
• The core was 12 inches in length and 1.25 inches in diameter.
• The oil and water viscosities were 1.8 and 0.9 cp.
• The low injection rate was 2.4 ft/day whereas the high injection rate
was 36 ft/day.
• The injected water was 0.1 normal sodium chloride solution.
• The core was instrumented with two current electrodes and nineteen
potential electrodes distributed along its length.
Wetting phase saturation profiles at low injection
Wetting phase saturation profiles at high injection