Current advances in capillarity: Theories and applications

Jianchao Cai, Shuyu Sun, Han Wang

Abstract view|54|times       PDF download|9|times


As common physical phenomena in porous media, capillarity behaviors exist in many engineering applications and natural science fields. The experimental, theoretical and numerical research on capillarity in porous media has lasted for more than a century, and the research results have been widely used in various fields, such as the development of conventional and unconventional resources. However, although the research has made great progress, the complex imbibition mechanism poses new challenges to us. The 1st National Conference on Imbibition Theory and Application in Porous Media was held in Beijing from April 22 to 24, 2023, to gather  researchers who are interested in imbibition research, exchange the latest progress and achievements in the field of imbibition in porous media, and discuss research hotspots and difficulties.

Document Type: Editorial

Cited as: Cai, J., Sun, S., Wang, H. Current advances in capillarity: Theories and applications. Capillarity, 2023, 7(2): 25-31.


Imbibition, porous media, capillarity, unconventional resources

Full Text:



Cai, J. Some key issues and thoughts on spontaneous imbibition in porous media. Chinese Journal of Computational Physics, 2021, 38(5): 505-512. (in Chinese)

Cai, J., Jin, T., Kou, J., et al. Lucas-washburn equation-based modeling of capillary-driven flow in porous systems. Langmuir, 2021, 37(5): 1623-1636.

Chen, H., Kou, J., Sun, S., et al. Fully mass-conservative impes schemes for incompressible two-phase flow in porous media. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 2019, 350: 641-663.

Cheng, Z., Gao, H., Ning, Z., et al. Inertial effect on oil/water countercurrent imbibition in porous media from a porescale perspective. SPE Journal, 2022a, 27(3): 1619-1632.

Cheng, T., Yang, H., Yang, C., et al. Scalable semismooth newton methods with multilevel domain decomposition for subsurface flow and reactive transport in porous media. Journal of Computational Physics, 2022b, 467: 111440.

Cui, R., Hassanizadeh, S. M., Sun, S. Pore-network modeling of flow in shale nanopores: Network structure, flow principles, and computational algorithms. Earth-Science Reviews, 2022: 104203.

Diao, Z., Li, S., Liu, W., et al. Numerical study of the effect of tortuosity and mixed wettability on spontaneous imbibition in heterogeneous porous media. Capillarity, 2021, 4(3): 50-62.

Du, Y., Fu, C., Pan, Z., et al. Geochemistry effects of supercritical CO2 and H2O on the mesopore and macropore structures of high-rank coal from the qinshui basin, china. International Journal of Coal Geology, 2020, 223: 103467.

Du, S., Jin, J., Shi, Y., et al. Complex flow in tight oil reservoirs impacted by heterogeneous minerals: A new mechanism. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2023: 106095.

Fu, C., Du, Y., Song, W., et al. Application of automated mineralogy in petroleum geology and development and CO2 sequestration: A review. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2023: 106206.

Gambaryan-Roisman, T. Liquids on porous layers: Wetting, imbibition and transport processes. J Current Opinion in Colloid Interface Science, 2014, 19(4): 320-335.

Gambaryan-Roisman, T. Simultaneous imbibition and evaporation of liquids on grooved substrates. Interfacial Phenomena and Heat Transfer, 2019, 7(3): 239-253.

Khalil, A., Sch¨afer, F., Postulka, N., et al. Wettability-defined droplet imbibition in ceramic mesopores. Nanoscale, 2020, 12(47): 24228-24236.

Kurotori, T., Murugesu, M. P., Zahasky, C., et al. Mixed imbibition controls the advance of wetting fluid in multiscale geological media. Advances in Water Resources, 2023, 175: 104429.

Li, J. Development of adsorption ratio equation and state equation of liquid and their geological significance. Capillarity, 2021, 4(4): 63-65.

Li, T., Gao, H., Ni, J., et al. Research on the differential oil producing in the various scale pores under different CO2 flooding modes with a fluid distribution pore classification method. Energy & Fuels, 2023a, 37(5): 3775-3784.

Li, S., Liu, H., Wu, R., et al. Prediction of spontaneous imbibition with gravity in porous media micromodels. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2022a, 952: A9.

Li, G., Su, Y., Wang, W. The fractal mathematical models for spontaneous and forced imbibition with different cross-section shapes in shale oil reservoir. Fractals, 2023b: 2350002.

Li, B., Zhu, W., Ma, Q., et al. Pore-scale visual investigation on the spontaneous imbibition of surfactant solution in oil-wet capillary tubes. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, 2022b, 44(2): 3395-3405.

Liu, Y., Gong W., Zhao Y., et al. A pore-throat segmentation method based on local hydraulic resistance equivalence for pore-network modeling, Water Resources Research, 2022, 58(12): e2022WR033142.

Liu, Q., Li, J., Liang, B., et al. Complex wettability behavior triggering mechanism on imbibition: A model construction and comparative study based on analysis at multiple scales. Energy, 2023, 275: 127434.

Liu, H., Sun, S., Wu, R., et al. Pore-scale modeling of spontaneous imbibition in porous media using the lattice Boltzmann method. Water Resources Research, 2021, 57(6): e2020WR029219.

Lucas, R. Rate of capillary ascension of liquids. Kolloid Z, 1918, 23(15): 15-22.

Pan, B., Clarkson, C. R., Atwa, M., et al. Spontaneous imbibition dynamics of liquids in partially-wet nanoporous media: Experiment and theory. Transport in Porous Media, 2021, 137(3): 555-574.

Pan, B., Valappil, M. O., Rateick, R., Jr., et al. Hydrophobic nanoporous carbon scaffolds reveal the origin of polarity-dependent electrocapillary imbibition. Chemical Science, 2023, 14(6): 1372-1385.

Pu, Y., Pengbo, M., Hongkun, C., et al. Characterization investigation on pore-resistance relationship of oil contaminants in soil porous structure. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2020, 191: 107208.

Qin, C., van Brummelen, H., Hefny, M., et al. Image-based modeling of spontaneous imbibition in porous media by a dynamic pore network model. Advances in Water Resources, 2021, 152: 103932.

Qin, C., Wang, X., Hefny, M., et al. Wetting dynamics of spontaneous imbibition in porous media: From pore scale to darcy scale. Geophysical Research Letters, 2022, 49(4): e2021GL097269.

Shan, F., Xiao, J., Chai, Z., et al. Pinning and depinning in imbibition beyond a sharp edge: A lattice Boltzmann study. International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 2023, 159: 104317.

Shen, A., Liu, Y., Bai, M., et al. Surfactant effects of wettability alteration and low ift on countercurrent imbibition for tight oil formation. Energy & Fuels, 2018, 32(12): 12365-12372.

Shen, A., Liu, Y., Qiu, X., et al. A model for capillary rise in nano-channels with inherent surface roughness. Applied Physics Letters, 2017, 110(12): 121601.

Shi, G., Kou, G., Du, S., et al. What role would the pores related to brittle minerals play in the process of oil migration and oil & water two-phase imbibition? Energy Reports, 2020, 6: 1213-1223.

Wang, F., Cheng, H., Song, K. A mathematical model of surfactant spontaneous imbibition in a tight oil matrix with diffusion and adsorption. Langmuir, 2021, 37(29): 8789-8800.

Wang, X., Sheng, J. J. A self-similar analytical solution of spontaneous and forced imbibition in porous media. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2018, 2(3): 260-268.

Wang, H., Wang, W., Su, Y., et al. Lattice Boltzmann model for oil/water two-phase flow in nanoporous media considering heterogeneous viscosity, liquid/solid, and liquid/liquid slip. SPE Journal, 2022, 27(6): 3508-3524.

Wang, X., Wang, S., Wu, W., et al. Coupled pressure-driven flow and spontaneous imbibition in shale oil reservoirs. Physics of Fluids, 2023, 35(4): 042104.

Washburn, E. W. The dynamics of capillary flow. Physical Review, 1921, 17(3): 273-283.

Wu, H., Gao, K., Lu, Y., et al. Silica-based amphiphilic janus nanofluid with improved interfacial properties for enhanced oil recovery. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2020, 586: 124162.

Xia, Y., Tian, Z., Xu, S., et al. Effects of microstructural and petrophysical properties on spontaneous imbibition in tight sandstone reservoirs. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 2021, 96: 104225.

Xu, G., Chang, J., Wu, H., et al. Enhanced oil recovery performance of surfactant-enhanced janus SiO2 nanofluid for high temperature and salinity reservoir. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2023, 657: 130545.

Yang, L., Fan, C., Wen, H., et al. An improved gas-liquid-solid coupling model with plastic failure for hydraulic flushing in gassy coal seam and application in borehole arrangement. Physics of Fluids, 2023, 35(3): 036603.

Yang, K., Wang, F., Zhao, J. Experimental study of surfactant-enhanced spontaneous imbibition in fractured tight sandstone reservoirs: The effect of fracture distribution. Petroleum Science, 2023, 20(1): 370-381.

Zhang, X., Kuang, S., Shi, Y., et al. A new liquid transport model considering complex influencing factors for nano-to micro-sized circular tubes and porous media. Physics of Fluids, 2019, 31(11): 112006.

Zhang, T., Li, Y., Li, Y., et al. A self-adaptive deep learning algorithm for accelerating multi-component flash calculation. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 2020, 369: 113207.

Zhang, T., Liu, J., Sun, S. Technology transition from traditional oil and gas reservoir simulation to the next generation energy development. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2023, 7(1): 69-70.

Zhao, J., Qin, F., Kang, Q., et al. A dynamic pore network model for imbibition simulation considering corner film flow. Water Resources Research, 2022a, 58(7): e2022WR032332.

Zhao, J., Qin, F., Fei, L., et al. Competition between main meniscus and corner film flow during imbibition in a strongly wetting square tube. Journal of Hydrology, 2022b, 615: 128695.

Zheng, J., Chen, Z., Xie, C., et al. Characterization of spontaneous imbibition dynamics in irregular channels by mesoscopic modeling. Computers & Fluids, 2018, 168: 21-31.

Zheng, J., Lei, W., Ju, Y., et al. Investigation of spontaneous imbibition behavior in a 3d pore space under reservoir condition by lattice Boltzmann method. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2021, 126(6): e2021JB021987.

Zhou, L., Zhou, X., Fan, C., et al. Modelling of flue gas injection promoted coal seam gas extraction incorporating heat-fluid-solid interactions. Energy, 2023: 126664.

Zhu, G., Kou, J., Yao, J., et al. A phase-field moving contact line model with soluble surfactants. Journal of Computational Physics, 2020, 405: 109170.

Zhu, G., Zhang, L., Yao, J. Energy capillary number reveals regime transition of imbibition in porous media. Physics of Fluids, 2021, 33(12): 123111.

Zou, S., Armstrong, R. T. Multiphase flow under heterogeneous wettability conditions studied by special core analysis and pore-scale imaging. SPE Journal, 2019, 24(3): 1234-1247.

Zou, S., Liu, Y., Cai, J., et al. Influence of capillarity on relative permeability in fractional flows. Water Resources Research, 2020, 56(11): e2020WR027624.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 The Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright ©2018. All Rights Reserved