Gravitational migration of fuel in porous media

Arieh Pistiner*, Michael Shapiro, Hillel Rubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Fuel migration in a water flowing through a porous medium generally occurs parallel to porous strata, which may not be horizontal. In this case, gravity tends to cause vertical segregation of fluids, depending on their densities. This phenomenon can exert a strong effect on fuel migration. The gravitational force creates the buoyancy force which acts upon the fuel, and may be either parallel or anti-parallel to the water flow direction. In this study, the above effects are investigated using the one-dimensional model of Pistiner et al. We go beyond the latter investigation in describing the influence of the gravitational forces upon the movement of fuel saturation fronts in a vertical porous layer against and along the water flow direction. It is found that when the directions of the buoyancy force and of the water flow are anti-parallel, fuel migrates in the direction of the buoyancy force, provided the latter is strong enough. However, in the case of a weak buoyancy force, the direction of migration of the fuel depends on its mass. Small fuel masses move mainly in the direction of the water flow. However, big fuel slugs possessing large masses will move mainly in the direction of the buoyancy force. Slugs, characterized by intermediate masses, have no preferable moving direction and are almost stagnant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-205
Number of pages19
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Bond number
  • Two-phase flow
  • buoyancy force
  • porous media


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