A multidisciplinary study has been carried out so as to characterize the permeability impairment due to suspended particles during water injection. The approach is based on extensive laboratory experiments reproducing the complete range of parameters met in the industry. Experiments were carried out at both constant flowrate and constant pressure gradient. They reproduce static filtration conditions, i.e. without a flow component tangential to the rock face such as can occur when there are open fractures.
The analysis of experimental results has confirmed that injectivity damage can be separated into two successive processes. Internal permeability damage close to the entry face switches to the build-up of an external filter cake after the injection of a critical volume. This is true even when particles are very small as compared to the size of the pore throats. Analytical equations have been developped for each mechanism, as well as for the critical cumulative injection when the external cake starts to form. These equations require at most two parameters. The extensive range of experimental conditions in our laboratory study enables us to propose correlations for the values of these parameters from basic data (velocity, concentration, particle size).