Field Scale Impacts of Spatially Correlated Relative Permeability in Heterogeneous Multiphase Systems
Advances in Water Resources
Two-dimensional numerical simulations of two-phase (DNAPL-water) flow in spatially correlated random fields demonstrate the influence of nonwetting phase (NWP) relative permeability–saturation (kr,N–SW) relationships correlated to porous media intrinsic permeability (k). Both the volume of porous media invaded by the NWP and the length of time during which the NWP is migrating are under predicted if kr,N–k correlation is not accounted for in the model formulation. Not accounting for the kr,N–k correlation resulted in under predicting the volume of porous media invaded by up to approximately 10%, which is likely not significant for many practical applications. However, not accounting for the kr,N–k correlation resulted in under predicting field scale migration times by up to a factor of 4, which is likely significant in that the migration times are on the order of years to several decades for the DNAPL (1,2-DCE) considered in this study. The under prediction of migration times was greater for lower permeability aquifers.