Analysis of upscaling absolute permeability

X. H. Wu*, Y. Efendiev, T. Y. Hou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Flow based upscaling of absolute permeability has become an important step in practical simulations of flow through heterogeneous formations. The central idea is to compute upscaled, grid-block permeability from fine scale solutions of the flow equation. Such solutions can be either local in each grid-block or global in the whole domain. It is well-known that the grid-block permeability may be strongly influenced by the boundary conditions imposed on the flow equations and the size of the grid-blocks. We show that the upscaling errors due to both effects manifest as the resonance between the small physical scales of the media and the artificial size of the grid blocks. To obtain precise error estimates, we study the scale-up of single phase steady flows through media with periodic small scale heterogeneity. As demonstrated by our numerical experiments, these estimates are also useful for understanding the upscaling of general random media. It is further shown that the oversampling technique introduced in our previous work can be used to reduce the resonance error and obtain boundary-condition independent, grid-block permeability. Some misunderstandings in scale up studies are also clarified in this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-204
Number of pages20
JournalDiscrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series B
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Homogenization
  • Over-sampling
  • Resonance
  • Upscaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Applied Mathematics


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