Journal of Fluid Mechanics



Miscible rectilinear displacements with gravity override. Part 1. Homogeneous porous medium


MICHAEL RUITH a1 and ECKART MEIBURG a1p1 1
a1 Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1191, USA

Abstract

Rectilinear homogeneous miscible displacements with gravity override are analysed by means of direct numerical simulations on the basis of the vorticity–streamfunction formulation of the governing equations. The vorticity-based point of view offers the advantage of clearly attributing the dominant flow characteristics to the effects of viscosity contrast, density difference, impermeable boundary conditions, or interactions among the above. Basic considerations regarding the vorticity field show that in an integral sense the coupling between viscosity and gravity vorticity is predominantly one way in nature, in that the gravity vorticity can amplify the viscous vorticity, but not vice versa. In particular, the vorticity point of view provides an explanation for the formation of the gravity tongue in terms of a focusing mechanism, which results from the combined action of the unfavourable viscosity gradient and the potential flow field generated by the interaction of the gravitational vorticity with the horizontal boundaries. This potential velocity field locally enhances the uniform global displacement velocity near the upper boundary, and thereby amplifies the viscous fingering instability along this section of the interface. In some parameter ranges, the gravity tongue exhibits interesting interactions with the viscous fingers next to it, such as pinching and partial merging. The influence of the Péclet number, the viscosity and density contrasts, and the aspect ratio on the dynamic evolution of the displacement is investigated quantitatively.

(Received January 7 2000)
(Revised May 16 2000)


Correspondence:
p1 Present address: Department of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93110, USA, e-mail: meiburg@engineering.ucsb.edu.


Footnotes

1 To whom correspondence should be addressed, present address: Department of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93110, USA, e-mail: meiburg@engineering.ucsb.edu



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