Microscopic Investigation of Fluid Flow through High Porosity Porous Media and In-Situ Combustion with Aqueous Metallic Additives

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Microscopic study of porous media yields important mechanistic information regarding flow and transport processes. This work presents a microscopic investigation of fluid flow through high porosity porous media and in-situ combustion with aqueous metallic additives using three modern technologies: etched silicon micromodels, micro-particle image velocimetry (micro-PIV), and scanning electron microscope (SEM).In the micromodel experiments, several micromodels with characteristic sizes 1~100 µm and different geometries are successfully designed and micro machined with silicon photolithography technologies to simulate experimentally steady, isothermal, two dimensional flow through porous media. The deep-etched micromodel structures are examined using SEM. For the micro-PIV measurement, optimal particle fluorescence is found and the problem of particle adsorption is solved by adopting an appropriate injection scheme. Micro-PIV measurements are conducted for the flow through staggered 40-µm diameter cylinders. A spatial resolution of 12 µm x 6 µm x 3.5 µm in the velocity measurement is achieved. Moreover, the measured velocity vector field is cross-validated with computational results obtained by an accurate Navier-Stokes solver. Those results suggest that micro-PIV can be applied to micromodel experiments and is a promising technique for investigation of porous medium flow at microscopic scales. In the mechanistic investigation of improved in-situ combustion with aqueous metallic additives, we first show that such additives can be successfully injected and deposited on the solid surfaces of sand and rocks. Next, we propose cation exchange of metallic salts with clay as a mechanism to create activated sites that enhance combustion reactions between oil and oxygen. Locally-deposited metallic additives are observed on the clay rather than the sand surfaces within the mixtures of sand, clay, and metallic salts. Such results provide evidence of cation exchange between metallic additives and clay. SEM micrographs of sand and clay surfaces show no considerable change in texture due to metallic additives. Furthermore, the empirical ranking of the success of metallic ions as catalytic additives for in-situ combustion is interpreted as originating from three factors: cation replacing power (i.e. a Hofmeister series), distribution of metallic additive adsorption sites, and cation catalytic power for oxidation and cracking of hydrocarbon.


Type of resource text
Date created June 2005


Author Chen, Qing
Primary advisor Gerritsen, Margot
Advisor Kovscek, Anthony R.
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Petroleum Engineering


Subject School of Earth Energy & Environmental Sciences
Genre Thesis

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Chen, Qing. (2005). Microscopic Investigation of Fluid Flow through High Porosity Porous Media and In-Situ Combustion with Aqueous Metallic Additives. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: https://purl.stanford.edu/rd446qg7815


Master's Theses, Doerr School of Sustainability

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