Microtomography of multiphase flows in porous media

Aug 26, 2014
Flow of water around the trapped oil blobs (red). After the image (b), special dye (yellow) was added to water. Change in color from transparent to yellow corresponds to local flow speed of water. The difference between individual images is 10 minutes.

Multiphase flow in porous media occurs in many practical situations including carbon dioxide capture and storage, enhanced oil recovery, remediation of polluted ground, and soil science.

However, since porous media are optically opaque, there is only a limited knowledge of phenomenological descriptions of the average fluid properties over several .

Recent rapid improvements in X-ray computer tomography allow us to directly visualize fluid dynamical events at the pore scale.

Now, a team of energy engineers at Tokyo Tech is devising ways to adapt a microtomography scheme to visualize multiphase flows in porous media. A new tracer scheme was developed to visualize the flow field of multiphase flow in porous media on tomograms.

When oil was produced from reservoirs, a large fraction of the oil was trapped in pores. Water invaded into the throat of pores, and snapped off the oil blobs from the continuous oil. After that, the water surrounding the trapped blobs became stagnant. These findings are helpful to improve from reservoirs.

The new visualization scheme could be used to produce visual information on transport in porous media.

Explore further: Exploring new methods of thermal recovery

More information: Arief Setiawan, Tetsuya Suekane, Yoshihiro Deguchi, Koji Kusano. Three-Dimensional Imaging of Pore-Scale Water Flooding Phenomena in Water-Wet and Oil-Wet Porous Media. Journal of Flow Control, Measurement & Visualization, 2014, 2, 25-31. DOI: 10.4236/jfcmv.2014.22005

Related Stories

Exploring new methods of thermal recovery

Aug 13, 2014

Berna Hascakir, assistant professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M, was featured in a recent article on thermal recovery by Jennifer Pallanich in the Upstream Technology bimonthly magazine.

Fundamental research improves oil extraction efficiency

May 23, 2014

We are currently successful in extracting approximately one third of the oil from oil fields. The reason for this low figure is that a large proportion of the oil remains trapped in the rock. It was already ...

Discovering oil at micro level

Nov 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Getting trapped oil out of porous layers of sandstone and limestone is a tricky and costly operation for energy exploration companies the world over. But now, University of Alberta researchers ...

How long does it take to make a natural fracture?

Aug 04, 2014

How long does it take for natural Earth processes to form hydraulic fractures? Is the formation driven by sediment compaction, oil and gas generation, or something else? What role do these natural fractures ...

Recommended for you

Bringing high-energy particle detection in from the cold

20 hours ago

Radiation detectors, which monitor high-energy particles such as those produced by nuclear decay and cosmic radiation, are being used increasingly in medical imaging, petroleum well logging, astronomy and ...

Artificial muscles created from gold-plated onion cells

20 hours ago

Just one well-placed slice into a particularly pungent onion can send even the most seasoned chef running for a box of tissues. Now, this humble root vegetable is proving its strength outside the culinary ...

Image: Into the depths of the electromagnetic spectrum

21 hours ago

It can be difficult in our everyday lives to appreciate the extraordinary range of wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic radiation—from radio waves to visible light to x-rays—travels ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.