Computation of the interfacial area for two-fluid porous medium systems

Elisa Dalla, Markus Hilpert, Cass T. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


We develop a method to compute interfacial areas from three-dimensional digital representations of multiphase systems. We approximate the interfaces with the isosurface generated by the standard marching-cube algorithm from the discrete phase distribution. We apply this approach to two-fluid pore-scale simulations by (1) simulating a random packing of spheres that obeys the grain-size distribution and porosity of an experimental porous medium system, and (2) using a previously developed pore-morphology-based model in order to predict the phase distribution for a water-wet porous medium that undergoes primary drainage. The predicted primary drainage curve and interfacial areas are in good agreement with the experimental values reported in the literature, where interfacial areas were measured using interfacial tracers. The energy dissipation during Haines jumps is significant: thus, the mechanical work done on the system is not completely converted into surface energy, and interfacial areas may not be deduced from the primary drainage curve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-48
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Interfacial area
  • Meniscus
  • Multiphase
  • Pore-scale model
  • Porous media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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