Stability results for multi-layer radial Hele-Shaw and porous media flows
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© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. Motivated by stability problems arising in the context of chemical enhanced oil recovery, we perform linear stability analysis of Hele-Shaw and porous media flows in radial geometry involving an arbitrary number of immiscible fluids. Key stability results obtained and their relevance to the stabilization of fingering instability are discussed. Some of the key results, among many others, are (i) absolute upper bounds on the growth rate in terms of the problem data; (ii) validation of these upper bound results against exact computation for the case of three-layer flows; (iii) stability enhancing injection policies; (iv) asymptotic limits that reduce these radial flow results to similar results for rectilinear flows; and (v) the stabilizing effect of curvature of the interfaces. Multi-layer radial flows have been found to have the following additional distinguishing features in comparison to rectilinear flows: (i) very long waves, some of which can be physically meaningful, are stable; and (ii) eigenvalues can be complex for some waves depending on the problem data, implying that the dispersion curves for one or more waves can contact each other. Similar to the rectilinear case, these results can be useful in providing insight into the interfacial instability transfer mechanism as the problem data are varied. Moreover, these can be useful in devising smart injection policies as well as controlling the complexity of the long-term dynamics when drops of various immiscible fluids intersperse among each other. As an application of the upper bound results, we provide stabilization criteria and design an almost stable multi-layer system by adding many layers of fluid with small positive jumps in viscosity in the direction of the basic flow.
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