The unsteady flow of a weakly compressible fluid in a thin porous layer II: Three-dimensional theory

D. J. Needham*, S. Langdon, B. A. Samson, J. P. Gilchrist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We consider the problem of determining the pressure and velocity fields for a weakly compressible fluid flowing in a three-dimensional layer, composed of an inhomogeneous, anisotropic porous medium, with vertical side walls and variable upper and lower boundaries, in the presence of vertical wells injecting and/or extracting fluid. Numerical solution of this three-dimensional evolution problem may be expensive, particularly in the case that the depth scale of the layer h is small compared to the horizontal length scale l, a situation which occurs frequently in the application to oil and gas reservoir recovery and which leads to significant stiffness in the numerical problem. Under the assumption that ε ∝ h/l ≪ 1, we show that, to leading order in ε, the pressure field varies only in the horizontal directions away from the wells (the outer region). We construct asymptotic expansions in ε in both the inner (near the wells) and outer regions and use the asymptotic matching principle to derive expressions for all significant process quantities. The only computations required are for the solution of non-stiff linear, elliptic, two-dimensional boundary-value, and eigenvalue problems. This approach, via the method of matched asymptotic expansions, takes advantage of the small aspect ratio of the layer, ε, at precisely the stage where full numerical computations become stiff, and also reveals the detailed structure of the dynamics of the flow, both in the neighbourhood of wells and away from wells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-122
Number of pages26
JournalQuarterly Journal of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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