A reactive fluid circulating within a porous medium can dissolve minerals with which it is out of equilibrium and modify the porosity and permeability. The positive feedback between fluid transport and mineral dissolution causes complex reaction front morphologies such as fingers or wormholes. This study presents a numerical model to investigate reaction front instability, temporal aquifer porosity, and species concentration evolution during reactive transport in a homogeneous porous medium with two small, initially local non-uniformities. Simulation results indicate that a stable planar front develops for a small upstream pressure gradient while the growth of two non-uniformities becomes unstable for a large upstream pressure gradient. Moreover, the unstable reaction front may be either double- or single-finger in shape. Reaction front shape selection depends on the spacing of the two local non-uniformities and the upstream pressure gradients. A behavior diagram is constructed to identify a planar, single- or double-front morphology. The critical non-uniformities spacing at which a reaction front begins to merge into a single-finger decreases with increasing upstream pressure gradient.
- Reaction front