Effect of connectivity and wettability on the relative permeability of NAPLs

Liang-Jeng Chang*, Hung Hui Chen, Hsin-Yu Shan, Jui Pin Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The characteristic relationships among relative permeability (K r ), saturation (S) and capillary pressure (P) of NAPLs are the important constitutive laws to simulate the NAPLs flow in the subsurface. In this study, a micro model was used to obtain the values of permeability, saturation for the multi-phase flow of five fluid-pairs. The perspective micro model allows one to clearly observe the multiphase flow and allow this study to precisely measure the fluid saturation by digital image analysis. The experimental results showed hysteresis phenomenon of relative permeability versus saturation and that was not interpreted by previous studies. By carefully examining the recorded images, this study found that the degree of the connectivity for the micro channel occupied by wetting phase fluid could influence the relative permeability. Therefore, for the same saturation, the relative permeability in the imbibition is higher than that in the drainage. The results of the K r -S experiments for five fluid-pairs also showed that the residual saturation of wetting phase fluid decreased with the wettability increasing but increased with the interfacial tension increasing. Those interpretations and experimental results are valuable references for groundwater remediation and oil reservoir development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1447
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Connectivity
  • Imbibition
  • Micro channel
  • Micro model
  • NAPLs
  • Relative permeability


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