Effect of wettability alteration on long-term behavior of fluids in subsurface

Uditha C. Bandara, Bruce J. Palmer, Alexandre M. Tartakovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wettability is an important factor affecting fluid behavior in the subsurface, including oil, gas, and supercritical CO 2 in deep geological reservoirs. For example, CO 2 is generally assumed to behave as a non-wetting fluid, which favors safe storage. However, because of chemical heterogeneity of the reservoirs, mixed wettability conditions can exist. Furthermore, recent experiments suggest that with time, the wettability of super-critical CO 2 may change from non-wetting to partially wetting due to changes in electrostatic interactions. These changes are caused by chemical reactions between dissolved CO 2 and its environment. To date, the effect of wettability alteration and mixed wettability on the long-term fate of injected CO 2 has not well been studied. Here, we use the multiphase pairwise force smoothed particle hydrodynamics model to study complex pore-scale processes involved in geological CO 2 sequestration, including the effect of spatial and temporal wettability variations on long-term distribution of CO 2 in porous media. Results reveal that in the absence of dissolution of supercritical CO 2 and precipitation of carbonate minerals (mineral trapping), the amount of trapped supercritical CO 2 significantly decreases as the wettability of the porous media changes from brine-wet to partial-wet or CO 2-wet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalComputational Particle Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • CO sequestration wettability alteration
  • Lagrangian particle method
  • Multiphase flow
  • Pore-scale flow
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computational Mathematics


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