69th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (November 20, 2016 — November 22, 2016)

V0059: Wettability Control on Multiphase Flow in Patterned Microfluidics

  • Benzhong Zhao, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Christopher MacMinn, University of Oxford
  • Ruben Juanes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/APS.DFD.2016.GFM.V0059

The simultaneous flow of multiple fluid phases through a porous solid occurs in many natural and industrial processes — for example, rainwater infiltrates into soil by displacing air, and carbon dioxide is stored in deep saline aquifers by displacing brine. It has been known for decades that wettability — the affinity of the solid to one of the fluids — can have a strong impact on the flow, but the microscale physics and macroscopic consequences remain poorly understood. Here, we study this problem experimentally by systematically varying the wettability of a microfluidic porous medium. We find that increasing the porous medium’s affinity to the invading fluid results in more efficient displacement of the defending fluid up to a critical wetting transition, beyond which the trend is reversed. 

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