1887
Volume 63, Issue 3
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Streaming‐potentials are produced by electrokinetic effects in relation to fluid flow and are used for geophysical prospecting. The aim of this study is to model streaming potential measurements for unsaturated conditions using an empirical approach. A conceptual model is applied to streaming potential measurements obtained from two drainage experiments in sand. The streaming potential data presented here show a non‐monotonous behaviour with increasing water saturation, following a pattern that cannot be predicted by existing models. A model involving quasi‐static and dynamic components is proposed to reproduce the streaming potential measurements. The dynamic component is based on the first time derivative of the driving pore pressure. The influence of this component is investigated with respect to fluid velocity, which is very different between the two experiments. The results demonstrate that the dynamic component is predominant at the onset of drainage in experiments with the slowest water flow. On the other hand, its influence appears to vanish with increasing drainage velocity. Our results suggest that fluid flow and water distribution at the pore scale have an important influence on the streaming potential response for unsaturated conditions. We propose to explain this specific streaming potential response in terms of the behaviour of both rock/water interface and water/air interfaces created during desaturation processes. The water/air interfaces are negatively charged, as also observed in the case of water/rock interfaces. Both the surface area and the flow velocity across these interfaces are thought to contribute to the non‐monotonous behaviour of the streaming potential coefficient as well as the variations in its amplitude. The non‐monotonous behaviour of air/water interfaces created during the flow was highlighted as it was measured and modelled by studies published in the literature. The streaming potential coefficient can increase to about 10 to 40 when water saturation decreases. Such an increase is possible if the amount of water/air interfaces is increased in sufficient amount, which can be the case.

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2015-01-09
2019-12-09
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