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  • Multiphase Flow
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Transport in Porous Media, 2012, Vol.92(3), pp.819-835
    Description: Microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) is a technology that could potentially increase the tertiary recovery of oil from mature oil formations. However, the efficacy of this technology in fractional-wet systems is unknown, and the mechanisms involved in oil mobilization therefore need further investigation. Our MEOR strategy consists of the injection of ex situ produced metabolic byproducts produced by Bacillus mojavensis JF-2 (which lower interfacial tension (IFT) via biosurfactant production) into fractional-wet cores containing residual oil. Two different MEOR flooding solutions were tested; one solution contained both microbes and metabolic byproducts while the other contained only the metabolic byproducts. The columns were imaged with X-ray computed microtomography (CMT) after water flooding, and after MEOR, which allowed for the evaluation of the pore-scale processes taking place during MEOR. Results indicate that the larger residual oil blobs and residual oil held under relatively low capillary pressures were the main fractions recovered during MEOR. Residual oil saturation, interfacial curvatures, and oil blob sizes were measured from the CMT images and used to develop a conceptual model for MEOR in fractional-wet systems. Overall, results indicate that MEOR was effective at recovering oil from fractional-wet systems with reported additional oil recovered (AOR) values between 44 and 80%; the highest AOR values were observed in the most oil-wet system.
    Keywords: Microbial enhanced oil recovery ; X-ray microtomography ; Multiphase flow ; Interfacial curvature
    ISSN: 0169-3913
    E-ISSN: 1573-1634
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  • 2
    In: Geophysical Research Letters, 28 September 2016, Vol.43(18), pp.9677-9685
    Description: We utilize synchrotron X‐ray tomographic imaging to investigate the pore‐scale characteristics and residual trapping of supercritical CO (scCO) over the course of multiple drainage‐imbibition (D‐I) cycles in Bentheimer sandstone cores. Capillary pressure measurements are paired with X‐ray image‐derived saturation and connectivity metrics which describe the extent of drainage and subsequent residual (end of imbibition) scCO trapping. For the first D‐I cycle, residual scCO trapping is suppressed due to high imbibition capillary number (Ca ≈ 10); however, residual scCO trapping dramatically increases for subsequent D‐I cycles carried out at the same Ca value. This behavior is not predicted by conventional multiphase trapping theory. The magnitude of scCO trapping increase is hysteretic and depends on the relative extent of the sequential drainage processes. The hysteretic pore‐scale behavior of the scCO‐brine‐sandstone system observed in this study suggests that cyclic multiphase flow could potentially be used to increase scCO trapping for sequestration applications. We observe cyclic pore‐scale behavior of supercritical CO2 (scCO2) via synchrotron X‐ray microtomography Residual scCO2 saturation increases over multiple drainage‐imbibition (D‐I) cycles reaching a value of 50% after three cycles The ultimate driver for this behavior may be a combination of cycling and associated surface chemistry reactions
    Keywords: Co 2 Sequestration ; Residual Trapping ; Capillary Trapping ; Cyclic Injections ; X‐Ray Microtomography ; Multiphase Flow
    ISSN: 0094-8276
    E-ISSN: 1944-8007
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, September 2012, Vol.94-95, pp.155-164
    Description: Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) is a process where microorganisms are used for tertiary oil recovery. Numerous mechanisms have been proposed in the literature through which microorganisms facilitate the mobilization of residual oil. Herein, we focus on the MEOR mechanisms of interfacial tension reduction (via biosurfactant) and bioclogging in water-wet micromodels, using (MR-1) that causes bioclogging and (JF-2) that produces biosurfactant and causes bioclogging. Micromodels were flooded with an assortment of flooding solutions ranging from metabolically active bacteria to nutrient limited bacteria to dead inactive biomass to assess the effectiveness of the proposed MEOR mechanisms of bioclogging and biosurfactant production. Results indicate tertiary flooding of the micromodel system with biomass and biosurfactant was optimal for oil recovery due to the combined effects of bioclogging of the pore-space and interfacial tension reduction. However, biosurfactant was able to recover oil in some cases dependent on wettability. Biomass without biosurfactant that clogged the pore-space also successfully produced additional oil recovery. When analyzing residual oil blob morphology, MEOR resulted in oil blob size and radius of curvature distributions similar to those obtained by an abiotic capillary desaturation test, where flooding rate was increased post secondary recovery. Furthermore, for the capillary number calculated during MEOR flooding with bioclogging and biosurfactant, lower residual oil saturation was measured than for the corresponding capillary number under abiotic conditions. These results suggest that bioclogging and biosurfactant MEOR is a potentially effective approach for pore morphology modification and thus flow alteration in porous media that can have a significant effect on oil recovery beyond that predicted by capillary number. ► MEOR mechanisms of biosurfactant production and bioclogging are investigated. ► Abiotic recovery by increasing capillary number was also investigated. ► Blob size and interfacial curvature distributions are measured. ► Oil recovery was optimal with simultaneous bioclogging and biosurfactant production. ► Biotic and abiotic oil mobilization proceeded in a similar manner.
    Keywords: Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery ; Biosurfactant ; Bioclogging ; Micromodel ; Water Flooding ; Multiphase Flow ; Interfacial Curvature ; Engineering ; Geology
    ISSN: 0920-4105
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, January 2013, Vol.51, pp.217-246
    Description: ► We provide a review of recent developments and advances in pore-scale X-ray tomographic imaging of subsurface porous media. ► The particular focus is on immiscible multi-phase fluid flow and quantitative analyses. ► Advances in both imaging techniques and image processing are discussed and future trends are addressed. We report here on recent developments and advances in pore-scale X-ray tomographic imaging of subsurface porous media. Our particular focus is on immiscible multi-phase fluid flow, i.e., the displacement of one immiscible fluid by another inside a porous material, which is of central importance to many natural and engineered processes. Multiphase flow and displacement can pose a rather difficult problem, both because the underlying physics is complex, and also because standard laboratory investigation reveals little about the mechanisms that control micro-scale processes. X-ray microtomographic imaging is a non-destructive technique for quantifying these processes in three dimensions within individual pores, and as we report here, with rapidly increasing spatial and temporal resolution.
    Keywords: X-Ray Tomography ; Porous Media Characterization ; Multi-Phase Flow ; Image Analysis and Quantification ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Computational Geosciences, 2010, Vol.14(1), pp.15-30
    Description: Image analysis of three-dimensional microtomographic image data has become an integral component of pore scale investigations of multiphase flow through porous media. This study focuses on the validation of image analysis algorithms for identifying phases and estimating porosity, saturation, solid surface area, and interfacial area between fluid phases from gray-scale X-ray microtomographic image data. The data used in this study consisted of (1) a two-phase high precision bead pack from which porosity and solid surface area estimates were obtained and (2) three-phase cylindrical capillary tubes of three different radii, each containing an air–water interface, from which interfacial area was estimated. The image analysis algorithm employed here combines an anisotropic diffusion filter to remove noise from the original gray-scale image data, a k-means cluster analysis to obtain segmented data, and the construction of isosurfaces to estimate solid surface area and interfacial area. Our method was compared with laboratory measurements, as well as estimates obtained from a number of other image analysis algorithms presented in the literature. Porosity estimates for the two-phase bead pack were within 1.5% error of laboratory measurements and agreed well with estimates obtained using an indicator kriging segmentation algorithm. Additionally, our method estimated the solid surface area of the high precision beads within 10% of the laboratory measurements, whereas solid surface area estimates obtained from voxel counting and two-point correlation functions overestimated the surface area by 20–40%. Interfacial area estimates for the air–water menisci contained within the capillary tubes were obtained using our image analysis algorithm, and using other image analysis algorithms, including voxel counting, two-point correlation functions, and the porous media marching cubes. Our image analysis algorithm, and other algorithms based on marching cubes, resulted in errors ranging from 1% to 20% of the analytical interfacial area estimates, whereas voxel counting and two-point correlation functions overestimated the analytical interfacial area by 20–40%. In addition, the sensitivity of the image analysis algorithms on the resolution of the microtomographic image data was investigated, and the results indicated that there was little or no improvement in the comparison with laboratory estimates for the resolutions and conditions tested.
    Keywords: Multiphase flow ; Porous media ; Computed microtomography ; Image analysis ; Marching cubes
    ISSN: 1420-0597
    E-ISSN: 1573-1499
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, June 2015, Vol.130, pp.16-25
    Description: The microbial enhanced oil recovery mechanisms of bioclogging and interfacial tension reduction are evaluated for a range of pore morphologies to elucidate pore morphological effects on residual oil blob mobilization. The tested pore morphologies are the following; glass beads, angular crushed glass, and Bentheimer sandstone. x-ray computed microtomography (CMT) was utilized to characterize the pore morphologies and analyze residual oil blob mobilization during MEOR. Results demonstrate that bioclogging with interfacial tension reduction is the most effective MEOR treatment option in terms of additional oil recovered (AOR) for the pore morphologies with the smallest pore throat radii and that AOR increases with increasing pore body and throat radii, as well as pore sphericity. Other parameters analyzed, including porosity, coordination number, and aspect ratio displayed no correlation with AOR. In the more angular pore morphologies, collected CMT images illustrated that break-up (i.e. large oil ganglia breaking into smaller residual oil droplets) occurred during microbial treatment. Additionally, oil recovery was found to increase with the amount of biomass infused.
    Keywords: Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery ; Biosurfactant ; Bioclogging ; Microct ; Water Flooding ; Multiphase Flow ; Engineering ; Geology
    ISSN: 0920-4105
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, April 2018, Vol.114, pp.249-260
    Description: We present an improved method for estimating interfacial curvatures from x-ray computed microtomography (CMT) data that significantly advances the potential for this tool to unravel the mechanisms and phenomena associated with multi-phase fluid motion in porous media. CMT data, used to analyze the spatial distribution and capillary pressure–saturation ( – ) relationships of liquid phases, requires accurate estimates of interfacial curvature. Our improved method for curvature estimation combines selective interface modification and distance weighting approaches. It was verified against synthetic (analytical computer-generated) and real image data sets, demonstrating a vast improvement over previous methods. Using this new tool on a previously published data set (multiphase flow) yielded important new insights regarding the pressure state of the disconnected nonwetting phase during drainage and imbibition. The trapped and disconnected non-wetting phase delimits its own hysteretic – curve that inhabits the space within the main hysteretic – loop of the connected wetting phase. Data suggests that the pressure of the disconnected, non-wetting phase is strongly modified by the pore geometry rather than solely by the bulk liquid phase that surrounds it.
    Keywords: Multiphase Flow ; Porous Media ; Computed Microtomography ; Curvature ; Capillary Pressure Measurement ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, May 2015, Vol.79, pp.91-102
    Description: We investigate trapping of a nonwetting (NW) phase, air, within Bentheimer sandstone cores during drainage–imbibition flow experiments, as quantified on a three dimensional (3D) pore-scale basis via x-ray computed microtomography (X-ray CMT). The wetting (W) fluid in these experiments was deionized water doped with potassium iodide (1:6 by weight). We interpret these experiments based on the capillary–viscosity–gravity force dominance exhibited by the Bentheimer–air–brine system and compare to a wide range of previous drainage–imbibition experiments in different media and with different fluids. From this analysis, we conclude that viscous and capillary forces dominate in the Bentheimer–air–brine system as well as in the Bentheimer–supercritical CO –brine system. In addition, we further develop the relationship between initial (post-drainage) NW phase connectivity and residual (post-imbibition) trapped NW phase saturation, while also taking into account initial NW phase saturation and imbibition capillary number. We quantify NW phase connectivity via a topological measure as well as by a statistical percolation metric. These metrics are evaluated for their utility and appropriateness in quantifying NW phase connectivity within porous media. Here, we find that there is a linear relationship between initial NW phase connectivity (as quantified by the normalized Euler number, ) and capillary trapping efficiency; for a given imbibition capillary number, capillary trapping efficiency (residual NW phase saturation normalized by initial NW phase saturation) can decrease by up to 60% as initial NW phase connectivity increases from low connectivity ( ≈ 0) to very high connectivity ( ≈ 1). We propose that multiphase fluid-porous medium systems can be engineered to achieve a desired residual state (optimal NW phase saturation) by considering the dominant forces at play in the system along with the impacts of NW phase topology within the porous media, and we illustrate these concepts by considering supercritical CO sequestration scenarios.
    Keywords: Co2 Sequestration ; Topology ; Pore-Scale ; Force Balance ; Nonwetting Phase Trapping ; X-Ray Microtomography ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, September 2016, Vol.95, pp.288-301
    Description: Biofilm growth changes many physical properties of porous media such as porosity, permeability and mass transport parameters. The growth depends on various environmental conditions, and in particular, on flow rates. Modeling the evolution of such properties is difficult both at the porescale where the phase morphology can be distinguished, as well as during upscaling to the corescale effective properties. Experimental data on biofilm growth is also limited because its collection can interfere with the growth, while imaging itself presents challenges. In this paper we combine insight from imaging, experiments, and numerical simulations and visualization. The experimental dataset is based on glass beads domain inoculated by biomass which is subjected to various flow conditions promoting the growth of biomass and the appearance of a biofilm phase. The domain is imaged and the imaging data is used directly by a computational model for flow and transport. The results of the computational flow model are upscaled to produce conductivities which compare well with the experimentally obtained hydraulic properties of the medium. The flow model is also coupled to a newly developed biomass–nutrient growth model, and the model reproduces morphologies qualitatively similar to those observed in the experiment.
    Keywords: Porescale Modeling ; Imaging Porous Media ; Microtomography ; Biomass and Biofilm Growth ; Parabolic Variational Inequality ; Multicomponent Multiphase Flow and Transport in Porous Media ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 10
    In: Water Resources Research, June 2017, Vol.53(6), pp.4709-4724
    Description: The relaxation dynamics toward a hydrostatic equilibrium after a change in phase saturation in porous media is governed by fluid reconfiguration at the pore scale. Little is known whether a hydrostatic equilibrium in which all interfaces come to rest is ever reached and which microscopic processes govern the time scales of relaxation. Here we apply fast synchrotron‐based X‐ray tomography (X‐ray CT) to measure the slow relaxation dynamics of fluid interfaces in a glass bead pack after fast drainage of the sample. The relaxation of interfaces triggers internal redistribution of fluids, reduces the surface energy stored in the fluid interfaces, and relaxes the contact angle toward the equilibrium value while the fluid topology remains unchanged. The equilibration of capillary pressures occurs in two stages: (i) a quick relaxation within seconds in which most of the pressure drop that built up during drainage is dissipated, a process that is to fast to be captured with fast X‐ray CT, and (ii) a slow relaxation with characteristic time scales of 1–4 h which manifests itself as a spontaneous imbibition process that is well described by the Washburn equation for capillary rise in porous media. The slow relaxation implies that a hydrostatic equilibrium is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase experiments in which a flux boundary condition is changed from flow to no‐flow. Implications for experiments with pressure boundary conditions are discussed. What happens to fluids in a porous medium after pumping is stopped? Fast X‐ray tomography shows that even in a sample smaller than a sugar cube fluid interfaces continue to move for hours until an optimal fluid configuration is reached. The pace is limited by slow relaxation of dynamic contact angles. Therefore hydrostatic equilibrium, which is the state at which all fluid interfaces come to rest, is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase flow experiments where the flow is stopped in much larger soil or rock samples. Relaxation dynamics through internal redistribution of fluids after fast drainage occurs in two stages A quick dissipation within seconds is followed by slow relaxation within several hours due to relaxation of dynamic contact angles Fluid configurations during relaxation are very different from those during quasi‐static drainage and imbibition
    Keywords: Two‐Phase Flow ; Dynamic Effects ; Hydraulic Nonequilibrium ; Dynamic Contact Angle ; Fluid Configuration ; Fluid Topology
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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