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    An experimental study on the rate and mechanism of capillary rise in sandstone

    Tsunazawa Y, Yokoyama T, Nishiyama N

    Capillary rise, Capillary pressure, Lucas–Washburn equation, Water expulsion method, Sandstone

    (a) Photograph of capillary rise experiment.
    (b) Schematic of water expulsion treatment.
    (c) Results of capillary rise experiments beginning after the water expulsion treatments

    The Lucas-Washburn equation is a fundamental expression used to describe capillary rise in geologic media on the basis of pore radius, liquid viscosity, surface tension, contact angle, and time. It is known that a radius value significantly smaller than the main pore radius must be used in the equation in order for the predictions to fit the experimentally measured values. To evaluate this gap between theoretical predictions and experimental data, we conducted several capillary rise experiments using Berea sandstone. First, to investigate conditions in which pores of any size are available for capillary rise, an experiment was conducted using a dried core. Next, to adjust the size distribution of pore water before the capillary rise, gas pressure was applied to a water-saturated core and water was expelled from pores of r > 10 μm; then, capillary rise was initiated. Under this condition, capillary rise occurred only in the pores of r > 10 μm. The same experiment was conducted for r = 3, 1, and 0.36 μm. When narrower pores were made available for capillary rise, the overall rate of rise decreased and approached the rate observed when the sample was dry initially. This observation suggests that the capillary rise in narrow pores plays a significant role in the overall rate. Based on these results, we propose a conceptual capillary rise model that considers differing radii in branched pores and provide an example of a quantitative description of capillary rise.