Morphology quantification of three-dimensional fluid invasion patterns

Weiwei Li, Martin Brinkmann*, Hagen Scholl, Marco Di Michiel, Stephan Herminghaus, Ralf Seemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In many situations, patterns of immiscible fluid displacement appear obviously different at first glance, but can hardly be distinguished using the commonly applied quantification by fractal dimension. In this work, we propose the mean finger area of the invading fluid, the average distance of defending fluid elements to the invading fluid as well as a discrete surface area of a coarse grained fluid representation as three alternative methods to characterize fluid displacement patterns in three dimensional permeable media. Applying the proposed methods to X-ray microtomography data of fluid displacement experiments in bead packs of homogeneous and mixed wettability, all of the three methods allow to clearly distinguish between a compact front morphology for wetting invading liquids and a finger-like structure for non-wetting invading liquids. When compared to the fractal dimension of the fluid pattern, all three quantities reveal more details with respect to the structure of the invading liquid. Applying these methods to microtomography data of fluid displacement in heterogeneously wetting bead packs reveal a fingering structure and preferential invasion paths that are controlled by local wettability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103916
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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