A generalized compositional thermal simulator is used to analyze the impact of the non-Newtonian flow characteristics of polymers, foams, and emulsions at three length/time scales.
At the pore scale a novel use of a reservoir simulator is employed to create networks of varying topology in order to study the impact of porous media structure on rheological behavior. Aspects of non-Newtonian flow of polymers, foams, and emulsions at this scale are then compared and contrasted. In particular the suitability of viscometer power law parameters to porous media, and the role of pore constrictions in trapping and mobilization are considered.
Subsequently, the non-Newtonian behavior of these fluids at the core and field scales are examined. It is shown that the impact of heterogeneity, crossflow and radial flow patterns, and region dependent trapping have analogies with the more microscopic scale. Furthermore, the shear rate dependence of in situ foam and emulsion generation suggests different modelling approaches at the core and field scales, with core scale rate processes replaced by pseudo-equilibrium K values at the field scale.
Numerical aspects of non-Newtonian modelling (explicit versus implicit and block-centered versus face-centered velocity evaluation) are discussed briefly.