Micro- and nanoscale porous media analogs

Top: Porous media analog based on the Voronoi tessellation of 2D space etched into bulk silicon (Scale bar = 200 um). Bottom: Water (black fluid) displacing oil (clear fluid) in a corner-to-corner flow.

A fundamental problem facing the petroleum field is the extraction of oil and gas from nanoscale pores within the matrix of various geological formations. This includes residual crude oil trapped within the rock matrix following primary and secondary recovery, as well as extraction of natural gas from sales and tight gas sands. Fluid and solute transport between natural microscale pores and nanoscale features is poorly understood. Part of this poor understanding can be attributed to the lack of experimental models of porous media that allow the visualization of fluids at these length scales. In collaboration with Xiaolong Yin in Petroleum Engineering at CSM, Yinfa Ma and Baojun Bai at Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Scott Retterer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory we have developed a series of micro- and nanofluidic pore scale models based on periodic and random network topologies. These models allow for direct visualization of multiphase flow and phase behavior at reservoir temperatures and pressures.


Related Publications

K. He, L. Xu, Y. Gao, X. Yin, K.B. Neeves. Evaluation of surfactant performance in fracturing fluids for enhanced well productivity in the unconventional reservoirs using rock-on-a-chip approach. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 136 (2015): 531-541.

W. Xu, J.T. Ok, F. Xiao, K.B. Neeves, X.Y. Yin. The effect of pore geometry and interfacial tension on water-oil displacement efficiency in oil-wet microfluidic porous media analogs. Physics of Fluids, 26 (2014): 093102.

Q. Wu, B. Bai, Y. Ma, J.T. Ok, K.B. Neeves, X. Yin. Optic imaging of two-phase flow behavior in one-dimensional nano-scale channels. SPE Journal, 19 (2014): 793-802.

Q. Wu, J.T. Ok, Y. Sun, S.T. Retterer, K.B. Neeves, X. Yin, B. Bai, Y. Ma. Optic imaging of single and two-phase pressure driven flow in nano-scale channels. Lab on a Chip, 13 (2013): 1165-1171. PMID: 23370894

M. Wu, F. Xiao, R.M. Johnson-Paben, S.T. Retterer, X. Yin, K.B. Neeves.  Single- and two-phase flow in microfluidic porous media analogs based on Voronoi tessellation.  Lab on a Chip, 12 (2012), 253-261. Cover Article. PMID: 22094719