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Trapped Gas Fraction During Steady-State Foam Flow

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Abstract

Trapped or stationary gas contributes significantly to the extent of gas mobility reduction for aqueous foams. Simultaneous measurements of effluent bubble sizes and trapped gas saturation in sandstone are reported for the first time. Roughly 80% of the gas saturation in an aqueous foam is stationary at steady state in this permeable porous medium. The experiments show that as gas velocity increases, the trapped gas fraction decreases. Similarly, as injected gas–liquid ratio increases, the trapped gas fraction decreases. Hence, the absolute velocities of gas and aqueous surfactant solution are fundamental to foamed-gas mobility reduction for they help determine in situ foam texture. Effluent foam bubbles range in size from 60 to 120 μm in diameter. The smaller the effluent bubble, the smaller is the fraction of mobile gas. Scaling laws from network percolation theory are used to engender a mechanistic understanding of the various parameters identified as important in the experimental program. The closed form approimation predicts that the trapped gas fraction is a weak function of pressure gradient, foam-bubble size, and the permeability of the porous medium. Moreover, the theory reproduces well the newly obtained experimental data.

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Correspondence to A. R. Kovscek.

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Tang, G., Kovscek, A.R. Trapped Gas Fraction During Steady-State Foam Flow. Transp Porous Med 65, 287–307 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11242-005-6093-4

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Keywords

  • foam
  • surfactant
  • gas mobility control
  • laboratory studies
  • network modeling