Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 811–836 | Cite as

Bubble Migration Velocity in a Uniform Pore Network

  • Saloumeh GhasemianEmail author
  • Amir Ahmadzadegan
  • Ioannis Chatzis


Gas bubbles can be generated naturally or introduced artificially in porous media. Gas bubble migration through porous media governs the rate of gas emission to the atmosphere as well as the hydraulic and mechanical properties of sediments. The migration of air bubbles through water-wet porous media of uniform geometry was studied using a glass micromodel. Experiments were conducted to measure the velocity of bubbles of various lengths rising in a glass micromodel saturated with different test liquids and varying elevation angles. The results showed a linear dependency of the average bubble velocity on the bubble length and the sine of inclination angle of the micromodel. Comparisons were made using experimental data for air bubbles rising in kerosene, Soltrol 170 and dyed white oil. The effective permeability of the micromodel for the gas bubble, Kg, was calculated for different systems at different inclination angles, assuming that the effective length for viscous dissipation is equal to the initial static bubble length. It was found that the calculated permeability of the medium for gas bubbles had an increasing trend with increasing the bubble length. To visualize the periodic nature of the flow of rising bubbles in a porous medium, the motion of the air bubbles in white oil was video recorded by a digital camera, reviewed and analyzed using PowerDVDTM11 software. The bubble shape, exact positions of the bubble front and bubble tail during motion and, hence, the dynamic bubble length were determined through image analysis. Numerical simulation was performed by modifying an existing simulation code for the rise velocity of a gas bubble and the induced pressure field while it migrates through the pore network. The results showed that the rise velocity of a gas bubble is affected by the grid size of the pore network in the direction perpendicular to the bubble migration. The findings of this study can have important implications for studies on the migration of injected gas bubbles in geoenvironmental applications, as well as fundamental studies on bubble transport and behavior in porous media.


Porous medium Pore network model Bubble migration Micromodel Bubble velocity 

List of Symbols


Depth of pore (m)


Tube diameter (m)


Depth of throat (m)


Gravity acceleration (m s−2)


Capillary height (m)


Intrinsic permeability (m2)


Effective permeability of the gas phase (m2)


Relative permeability (m2)


Length (m)


Bubble length (m)


Dynamic bubble length (m)


Initial static bubble length (m)


Effective length (m)


Tube length (m)


Number of nodes


Pressure (kg m−1 s−2)


Capillary pressure (kg m−1 s−2)


Volumetric flow rate (m3 s−1)


Velocity (m s−1)


Pore width (m)


Throat width (m)


Bubble front position (m)


Bubble tail position (m)


Hydrostatic height (m)

Greek Letters


Angle (°)


Contact angle (°)


Surface/interfacial tension (kg s−2)


Density (kg m−3)


Dynamic viscosity (kg m−1 s−1)






















The authors acknowledge Jonathan D. Smith for providing us with his MATLAB® code.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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