How to simulate bubble flow in non-Newtonian fluids (such as drilling mud)?

I am trying to create multiple simulation scenarios, one of them is to simulate discrete bubble flow through drilling much, which is also a non-Newtonian fluid. I wonder whether this is something TOGUH2 would handle? Or shall I consult with any other simulation code?

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  • Qian,

    To my knowledge, none of the publicly available TOUGH modules handles non-Newtonian fluids. However, Yu-Shu Wu, now at Colorado School of Mines, developed such a module many years back; see references below.

    I presume you are concerned about the rise of disconnected, small bubbles in a large opening (such as a well) filled with drilling mud. This is not a porous-medium problem typically addressed by TOUGH2.




    Wu, Y.S., S. Finsterle, and K. Pruess, EOS3nn: An iTOUGH2 Module for Non-Newtonian Liquid and Gas Flow, Documentation and User’s Guide, Version 1.0, Report LBNL-51103, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif., August 2002.

    Wu, Y. S. and K. Pruess, A Numerical Method for Simulating non-Newtonian Fluid Flow and Displacement in Porous Media, Advances in Water Resources, 21, 351–362, 1998.

    Wu, Y. S. and K. Pruess, Flow of non-Newtonian Fluids Porous Media, in: Advances in Porous Media, 3, 87–184, 1996.

    Wu, Y. S., K. Pruess, and P. A. Witherspoon, Flow and Displacement of Bingham Non-Newtonian Fluids in Porous Media, SPE Reservoir Engineering, 369–376, 1992.

  • Thanks Stefan, that is what I thought about, but wasn't sure.

    Yes, I am trying to figure out a way to simulate discrete bubble rise in drilling mude in a well annulus. Thanks for sharing the articles, I will take a look.



  • Qian,

    Other useful papers might be


    Leifer, I., 2010. Characteristics and scaling of bubble plumes from marine hydrocarbon seepage in the Coal Oil Point seep field. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 115(C11).

    and many of his other papers on bubble rise, and

    Oldenburg, C.M. and Lewicki, J.L., 2006. On leakage and seepage of CO2 from geologic storage sites into surface water. Environmental Geology, 50(5), pp.691-705.


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