Pore-scale study of capillary trapping mechanism during CO2 injection in geological formations

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geological sequestration of CO2 gas has emerged as a promising solution for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in atmosphere. A number of continuum scale models are available to describe the transport phenomena of CO2 sequestration. These models rely heavily on a phenomenological description of subsurface transport phenomena and the predictions can be highly uncertain. "First-principle" pore-scale models provide a better understanding of fluid displacement processes. In this work we use a Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) model to study pore-scale displacement and capillary trapping mechanisms of super-critical CO2 in the subsurface. Simulations are carried out to investigate the effects of gravitational, viscous, and capillary forces on the amount of trapped CO2 in terms of non-dimensional numbers. We found that the displacement patterns and the amount of trapped CO2 depends mainly on Capillary and Gravity numbers. For large Gravity numbers, most of the injected CO2 reaches the cap-rock due to gravity separation. A significant portion of CO2 gets trapped by capillary forces when the Gravity number is small. When the Gravity number is moderately high, trapping patterns are heavily dependent on the Capillary number. If the Capillary number is very small, then capillary forces dominate the buoyancy forces and a significant fraction of injected CO2 is trapped by the capillary forces. Conversely, if the Capillary number is high, trapping is relatively small since buoyancy dominates the capillary forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1566-1577
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Fingering
  • Geological CO sequestration
  • Multiphase flow
  • Pore-scale modeling
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Pore-scale study of capillary trapping mechanism during CO2 injection in geological formations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this