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Factors Affecting

Permeability Determination

Non-Darcy Flow

Some figures in this section are from Fundamentals of Core Analysis, Core Laboratories, 1989.
Some slides in this section are from NExT PERF Short Course Notes, 1999.
Some slides appear to have been obtained from unknown primary
sources that were not cited by NExT. Note that some slides have a notes section.
Air Permeability Measurement
Measurement of permeability in the laboratory is most commonly
done with air
Convenient and inexpensive
Problem: low values of mean flowing pressure
downstream pressure, patm
upstream pressure, just a few psi higher than patm

At low mean flowing pressure, gas slippage occurs

Diameter of flow path through porous media approaches the mean free
path of gas molecules
mean free path is a function of molecule size
mean free path is a function of gas density
Increasing mean flowing pressure results in less slippage
as pmean, we obtain absolute (equivalent liquid) permeability
Non-Darcy Flow - Gas Slippage

Liquid flow and gas flow at high mean flowing pressure is laminar
Darcys Law is valid
flow velocity at walls is zero

At low mean flowing pressure gas slippage occurs

Non-Darcy flow is observed
flow at walls is not zero

Klinkenberg developed a method to correct gas permeability

measured at low mean flowing pressure to equivalent liquid
Non-Darcy Flow - Klinkenberg Effect

As pmean, gas permeability approaches absolute permeability

Non-Darcy Flow - Klinkenberg Effect

Klinkenberg correction for kair depends on mean flowing pressure

correction ratio shown is for pmean = 1 atm
Non-Darcy Flow - Klinkenberg Effect

Klinkenberg correction for kair is more important for low absolute

Non-Darcy Flow - High Flow Rates
In the field, gas wells exhibit non-Darcy flow at high flow rates
At high flow velocity, inertial effects and turbulence become
important, and cause non-Darcy flow
inertial effect
Non-Darcy Flow - Turbulence

Recalling Darcys equation for gas flow, (zg )=Constant

k A Tsc 1 2
q g,sc
L T p sc


p1 p 22
For laboratory flow experiments we can assume T=Tsc and z=1

q g,sc

A p12 p 22

g psc 2L
For Darcy flow, plotting (qg,sc psc)/A vs. (p12-p22)/(2L) results in
straight line.
line passes through origin [when qg,sc =0, then (p12-p22)=0]
slope = k/ g
behavior departs from straight line under turbulent flow conditions (high
flow velocity)
Non-Darcy Flow - Turbulence

Darcy Non-Darcy
flow flow

q psc

Slope =

0 (p12- p22)

Non-Darcy Flow - Forchheimer Equation

Forchheimer proposed a flow equation to account for the non-

linear effect of turbulence by adding a second order term
dp g q g qg
ds k A A
Note that unit corrections factors would be required for non-coherent unit
As flow rate decreases, we approach Darcys Law (2nd order term
approaches zero)
Non-Darcy Flow - Forchheimer Plot

Based on Forchheimers Equation a plotting method was

developed to determine absolute permeability even with
Non-Darcy effects
(1/kgas) vs. qg,sc
kgas determined from Darcys Law (incorrectly assuming Darcy flow)
and is a function of qg,sc
intercept = (1/kabs); absolute permeability
(1/kgas), (1/md)

Slope = [(brg,sc)/(gA)]

Intercept = [1/kabs]

Non-Darcy Flow - Forchheimer Equation
Non-Darcy Coefficient, b, is an empirically determined function of
absolute permeability
For Travis Peak (Texas)