Extension of the dielectric breakdown model for simulation of viscous fingering at finite viscosity ratios
Immiscible displacement of viscous oil by water in a petroleum reservoir is often hydrodynamically unstable. Due to similarities between the physics of dielectric breakdown and immiscible flow in porous media, we extend the existing dielectric breakdown model to simulate viscous fingering patterns for a wide range of viscosity ratios (mu(r)). At low values of power-law index eta, the system behaves like a stable Eden growth model and as the value of. is increased to unity, diffusion limited aggregation-like fractals appear. This model is compared with our two-dimensional (2D) experiments to develop a correlation between the viscosity ratio and the power index, i.e., eta = 10(-5) mu(0.8775)(r). The 2D and three-dimensional (3D) simulation data appear scalable. The fingering pattern in 3D simulations at finite viscosity ratios appear qualitatively similar to the few experimental results published in the literature.