Thèse de doctorat
Résumé : Studying the coupling between buoyancy-driven instabilities and chemical reactions is not only relevant to fundamental research, but has also recently gained increased interest because of its relevance to CO$_2$ sequestration in subsurface geological zones. This technique aims to limit the emissions of CO$_2$ to the atmosphere, with a view to mitigating climate change. When injected in e.g. a saline aquifer, CO$_2$ dissolves into the brine occupying the geological formation, thereby increasing the density of the aqueous phase. This increase of density upon dissolution leads to a denser fluid boundary layer rich in CO$_2$ on top of less dense fluid in the gravity field, which drives dissolution-driven convection. This process, also called convective dissolution, accelerates the transport of dissolved CO$_2$ to the host phase and thus improves the safety of CO$_2$ sequestration. The same kind of instability can develop in other contexts involving the dissolution of a phase A into a host phase, such as solid dissolution or transfer between partially miscible liquids. In this context, the goal of our thesis is to understand how chemical reactions coupled to dissolution-driven convection affect the dynamics of the dissolving species A in the host solution. To do so, we introduce a general reaction of the type A + B $rightarrow$ C where A, B and C affect the density of the aqueous solution. We theoretically analyze the influence of the relative physical properties of A, B and C on the convective dynamics. Our theoretical analysis uses a reaction-diffusion-convection model for the evolution of solute concentration in a host fluid solvent occupying a porous medium. First, we quantify the characteristic growth rate of the perturbations by using a linear stability analysis. Thereby we show that a chemical reaction can either accelerate or slow down the development of convection, depending on how it modifies the density profile that develops in the reactive solution. In addition, new dynamics are made possible by differential diffusion effects. Then, by analyzing the full nonlinear dynamics with the help of direct numerical simulations, we calculate the dissolution flux into the host phase. In particular, the dissolution flux can be amplified when convection develops earlier, as CO$_2$ is then transported faster away from the interface. Finally, we compare these theoretical and numerical predictions with results of laboratory experiments and discuss the possible implications of this study for CO$_2$ sequestration.