A numerical study of fluids with pressure‐dependent viscosity flowing through a rigid porous medium Academic Article uri icon


  • Much of the work on flow through porous media, especially with regard to studies on the flow of oil, are based on 'Darcy's law' or modifications to it, such as Darcy-Forchheimer or Brinkman models. While many theoretical and numerical studies concerning flow through porous media have taken into account the inhomogeneity and anisotropy of the porous solid, they have not taken into account the fact that the viscosity of the fluid and drag coefficient could depend on the pressure in applications, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Experiments clearly indicate that the viscosity varies exponentially with respect to the pressure and the viscosity can change, in some applications, by several orders of magnitude. The fact that the viscosity depends on pressure immediately implies that the 'drag coefficient' would also depend on the pressure. In this paper we consider modifications to Darcy's equation wherein the drag coefficient is a function of pressure, which is a realistic model for technological applications, such as EOR and geological carbon sequestration. We first outline the approximations behind Darcy's equation and the modifications that we propose to Darcy's equation, and derive the governing equations through a systematic approach using mixture theory. We then propose a stabilized mixed finite element formulation for the modified Darcy's equation. To solve the resulting nonlinear equations we present a solution procedure based on the consistent Newton-Raphson method. We solve representative test problems to illustrate the performance of the proposed stabilized formulation. One of the objectives of this paper is to show that the dependence of viscosity on the pressure can have a significant effect both on the qualitative and quantitative nature of the solution. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nakshatrala, K. B., & Rajagopal, K. R.

citation count

  • 27

publication date

  • May 2010