The assumption of Vertical Flow Equilibrium (VFE) and of parallel flow conditions, in general, is often applied to the modeling of flow and displacement in natural porous media. However, the methodology for the development of the various models is rather intuitive, and no rigorous method is currently available. In this paper, we develop an asymptotic theory using as parameter the variable RL=LHkVkH It is rigorously shown that present models represent the leading order term of an asymptotic expansion with respect to 1/RL2 Although this was numerically suspected, it is the first time that it is theoretically proved. Based on the general formulation, a series of models are subsequently obtained. In the absence of strong gravity effects, they generalize previous works by Zapata and Lake (1981), Yokoyama and Lake (1981) and Lake and Hirasaki (1981), on immiscible and miscible displacements. In the limit of gravity-segregated flow, we prove conditions for the fluids to be segregated and derive the Dupuit and Dietz (1953) approximations. Finally, we also discuss effects of capillarity and transverse dispersion.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.