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Darcy’s Law

Learning Objectives

Overview of Darcy’s Law


Permeability
Dimensional Analysis of Darcy’s Law
Darcy’s Law for various geometries and fluids

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Historical Basis for Permeability - Darcy’s Experiments

Darcy was the first to point out (1856),


while conducting experiments in his sand
filters (built for the purpose of water
purification for Dijon’s water distribution
system), that for a porous material:

“One can conclude that output volume is


,
proportional to the head and inversely
related to the thickness of a layer
traversed”, or:

Δh
q∝
L

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Darcy’s Findings

In other words, Darcy concluded that:

K A (h1− h2 )
q=
L

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Permeability and “K”

Darcy’s “K”, the constant of proportionality in the


equation, was determined to be a combination of:
ƒ k, permeability of the sand pack (or rock), and
ƒ μ, viscosity of the liquid
k
K=
μ

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Darcy’s Findings

In piezometric head In pressure difference


difference

Finding Δh ΔP
q∝ q∝
L L

Constant of
k
proportionality K⋅A A
μ
Darcy’s Law k dP
dh dh k dP
q = −K ⋅ A v = −K q=− A v=−
dS dS μ dS μ dS

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Dimensional Analysis of Darcy’s Law

k dP Base units:
v=− L, length or distance
μ dS m, mass
t, time
[v] = L / t
m
[μ ] = = dynamic viscosity (dynamic viscosity=absolute viscosity and kinematic viscosity=dynamic viscosity/density)
Lt

[ s] = L
m
[ p] =
Lt 2
⎡ dp ⎤ m F ma mL m
⎢⎣ ds ⎥⎦ = L2t 2 , recall p= = 2 = 22= 2
A L Lt Lt

Thus, what are the units of permeability?

⎡ ds ⎤ L m L2t 2
[ k ] = ⎢ vμ ⎥ = = L2 Permeability has dimensions of LENGTH2 (AREA).
⎣ dp ⎦ t Lt m

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Darcy Units

Darcy units
“A permeability of 1 darcy is
Velocity cm
s
defined as that permeability
which allows the flow of 1
Pressure atm cm3/s of fluid of 1 cp viscosity
of fluid of
through an area of 1 cm2
Viscosity N ⋅s
cp = 1 ⋅ 1 0 − 3 under a pressure gradient of
m2
1 atm/cm”
Distance
cm
.
Muskat (1937) proposed to call
Permeability
this unit “Darcy” after the pioneer
d a rcy
investigator. Since then, it has
⎛ cm3 ⎞
⎜ ⎟ been widely accepted in the
q ⎝ s ⎠ ( cp )
petroleum literature.
k= A
μ
=
( cm2 ) =
cm 2 ⋅ cp
= darcy
dp ⎛ atm ⎞ atm ⋅ s
ds ⎜ ⎟
⎝ cm ⎠
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Darcy’s Law

General form of Darcy’s law: Introducing the effect of gravity

k dΦ
vs = − Φ = Hubbert’s Potential
μ ds

k dΦ k ⎡ dp ρg d z⎤
vs = − =− ⎢ − ⎥
μ ds μ ⎣ ds 1.0133 x 10 d s ⎦
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Darcy’s Law For Various Flow Geometries and Fluids

Various Reservoir Fluids:


ƒ Liquids
ƒ Gas
Geometries:
ƒ Horizontal and Vertical
ƒ Linear, Radial, Spherical
Geological Considerations:
ƒ Flow parallel to depositional bedding planes
ƒ Flow perpendicular to bedding planes

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Horizontal, Linear Flow Incompressible Liquid

q A
q

p1
p2

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For Linear and Horizontal Flow (Liquid)

=0
k ⎡d p ρg d z⎤
vs = − ⎢ −
μ ⎣ d s 1.0133 x 106 d s ⎥⎦
k d p k d p
vs = − =−
μ ds μ dx

Integrating:

kA
q= ( p1 − p 2 )
μL
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Modification of Darcy’s Law for Gas Properties

Same assumptions as liquid flow


Additional assumptions for gas properties
o Several forms of flow equation are available
o Simplest form is shown here:
- Valid at low reservoir pressures

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Modified Darcy’s Law for Gas

psc qsc z T k A dp
q= =−
p Tsc μ dx
Separating variables and integrating:
L p2
p sc qsc z T p dp
Tsc
∫ q dx = − k ∫
μ
O p1

k A Tsc ⎛ p 22 − p12 ⎞
qsc =− ⎜⎜ ⎟⎟
μ L T z p sc ⎝ 2 ⎠
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Horizontal, Radial Flow Liquid

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For Radial and Horizontal Flow

=0
k ⎡d p ρg d z⎤
vs = − ⎢ −
μ ⎣ d s 1.0133 x 106 d s ⎥⎦
k d p q q
vs = + = =
μ d r A 2π r h

Integrating:

2 π h k ( pe − p w )
q=
μ ln (re / rw )
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Exercise 1: Horizontal Flow Parallel to Depositional
Bedding Planes

p1 p2
Layer A
qt Layer B qt
h
Layer C
w

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Exercise 1: Solution

q t = q A + qB + q c n h t = h A + hB + h c

Flow area, A = wht

k is arithmetic average permeability of layered system

∑k
i =1
i hi
k=
ht

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Exercise 2: Horizontal Flow Perpendicular to
Depositional Bedding Planes

p2
p1

kA kB kC
qt qt
ΔpA ΔpB ΔpC h
LA LB LC
w

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Exercise 2: Solution

qt = qA = qB = qc p1 - p2 = ΔpA + ΔpB + ΔpB

L = LA + LB + LC

k is the harmonic average system permeability

k wh
qt = ( p1 − p2 )
μL
L
k= n
Li
∑i = 1 Ki
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Exercise 3: Horizontal Radial Flow Liquid Layered
System Flow Parallel to Bedding Planes

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Exercise 3: Solution

q t = q A + qB + q c

h t = h A + hB + h c

k = average permeability of layered system

2 π k ht
qt = ( pe − p w )
μ ln (re / rw )

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Exercise 3: Solution

2 π k ht 2 π k A hA
qt = ( pe − p w ) = ( pe − p w )
μ ln (re / rw ) μ ln (re / rw )
2 π k B hB 2 π kC hC
+ ( pe − p w ) + ( pe − p w )
μ ln (re / rw ) μ ln (re / rw )

Simplifying
k ht = k A hA + k B hB + kC hC
k A hA + k B hB + kC hC
k=
ht
n

∑k
i =1
i hi
k=
ht
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Exercise 4: Composite Radial Flow System

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Exercise 4: Solution

q t = q A = qB = q C n h t = h A = hB = h C
pe - pw = ΔpA + ΔpB + ΔpC
k = average permeability of composite system
2 π k ht
qt = ( pe − p w )
μ ln (re / rw )

ln (re / rw )
k= n
ln (ri / ri-1 )
∑i =1 ki
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Historical Basis for Permeability - Darcy’s
Experiments
Darcy’s Paper

Henry Darcy, “The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon”, 1856

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References

1. Amyx,
J.W., Bass, D.M., and Whiting, R.L.: Petroleum Reservoir
Engineering, McGrow-Hill Book Company New York, 1960.

2. Tiab, D. and Donaldson, E.C.: Petrophysics, Gulf Publishing


Company, Houston, TX. 1996.

3. Dandekar, A. “Petroleum Reservoir Rock and Fluid Properties”,


Taylor and Francis, 2006.

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