We present a new numerical model for macro-scale two-phase flow in porous media which is based on a physically consistent theory of multi-phase flow. The standard approach for modeling the flow of two fluid phases in a porous medium consists of a continuity equation for each phase, an extended form of Darcy’s law as well as constitutive relationships for relative permeability and capillary pressure. This approach is known to have a number of important shortcomings and, in particular, it does not account for the presence and role of fluid–fluid interfaces. An alternative is to use an extended model which is founded on thermodynamic principles and is physically consistent. In addition to the standard equations, the model uses a balance equation for specific interfacial area. The constitutive relationship for capillary pressure involves not only saturation, but also specific interfacial area. We show how parameters can be obtained for the alternative model using experimental data from a new kind of flow cell and present results of a numerical modeling study.

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