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Journal of Porous Media
IF: 1.49 5-Year IF: 1.159 SJR: 0.43 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.58

ISSN Print: 1091-028X
ISSN Online: 1934-0508

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Journal of Porous Media

DOI: 10.1615/JPorMedia.v14.i2.10
pages 91-105

THE INFLUENCE OF PORE GEOMETRY ON FLOW INSTABILITY AND PORE-SCALE DISPLACEMENT MECHANISMS OF DILUTE SURFACTANT FLOODING IN MIXED-WET POROUS MEDIA

Benyamin Yadali Jamaloei
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; and Petroleum Research Center, Petroleum University of Technology, Ghasemizadian St., South Khosrow Ave., Tehran, Iran
Riyaz Kharrat
Petroleum University of Technology, Petroleum Research Center, Tehran, Iran

ABSTRACT

In this study, the influence of pore throat size on microscopic physical displacement mechanisms and the pore-scale flow instability of low interfacial tension two-phase flow in dilute surfactant flooding have been examined in a micromodel, which enabled us to visually investigate the microscale physicochemical interactions. The results indicated that the occurrence of the dispersivity in the flow pattern becomes severe after surfactant solution breakthrough. By decreasing the pore throat size (i.e., increasing the value of the capillary number), the macroscopic flow pattern developed in a less dispersed fashion and the instability of the flow pattern decreased, whereby the localized oil entrainment and bypassing are relatively reduced. The dominant microscopic mechanisms visualized in the model with the largest pore throat size were pore-to-pore hopping and pore-to-pore transfer. In the model with relatively intermediate pore throat size, continuous configuration of the surfactant solution was maintained over many pore throats and bodies, which allowed it to be transported over many pores resulting in the spotted configuration of the surfactant solution (due to oil entrainment and surfactant partitioning). Pore-scale discontinuous flow of surfactant solution was the major mechanism in the model with the smallest pore throat size. For the employed range of pore throat size, ultimate oil recovery and capillary number increased by decreasing the pore throat size.