Interface control volume finite element method for modelling multi-phase fluid flow in highly heterogeneous and fractured reservoirs

Ahmad Abushaikha, Martin J. Blunt, Olivier R. Gosselin, Christopher C. Pain, Matthew D. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new control volume finite element method that improves the modelling of multi-phase fluid flow in highly heterogeneous and fractured reservoirs, called the Interface Control Volume Finite Element (ICVFE) method. The method drastically decreases the smearing effects in other CVFE methods, while being mass conservative and numerically consistent. The pressure is computed at the interfaces of elements, and the control volumes are constructed around them, instead of at the elements' vertices. This assures that a control volume straddles, at most, two elements, which decreases the fluid smearing between neighbouring elements when large variations in their material properties are present. Lowest order Raviart-Thomas vectorial basis functions are used for the pressure calculation and first-order Courant basis functions are used to compute fluxes. The method is a combination of Mixed Hybrid Finite Element (MHFE) and CVFE methods. Its accuracy and convergence are tested using three dimensional tetrahedron elements to represent heterogeneous reservoirs. Our new approach is shown to be more accurate than current CVFE methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-61
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015



  • Control volume finite element method
  • Flow in heterogeneous and fractured porous media
  • Mixed hybrid finite element method
  • Numerical simulation
  • Unstructured grid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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