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Correlation Between Foam Flow Structure in Porous Media and Surfactant Formulation Properties

  • Eloïse ChevallierEmail author
  • Nils Demazy
  • Amandine Cuenca
  • Max Chabert
Article

Abstract

The optimization of foam injection in porous media for enhanced oil recovery or soil remediation requires a large screening of surfactant formulations. Tests of foam stability in vials often used quick criteria to accelerate selection and ensure performance in porous media. Using a selection of surfactant formulations of different chemistry and foam behaviors, the correlation between foam in vials and in porous media is investigated. Along with foam stability, foamability which quantifies the ability to create foam is shown to play a role in the maximum apparent viscosity. This is a first evidence that foamability is a key parameter for the maximum apparent viscosity reached in a steady state of apparent viscosity. To account for the relative contribution of foamability and foam stability, a parameter is inspired from the widely accepted model of population balance. These results support a workflow based on large foam screening in a first step and sandpack experiments in a second step, prior to more representative but longer coreflood tests. Finally, these experimental data emphasize the relevance of population balance simulations as a description based on experimental measurement. Second, the flow visualization in the sandpack allows the extraction of a local velocity of the liquid in the flowing foam. This parameter gives an experimental evidence that the transition between the high-quality and low-quality regime corresponds to a change in the efficiency of foam lamellae network to transport gas concomitantly to liquid. The local liquid velocity also represents an indirect and easy measurement of flow structure, and it is shown to change from one formulation to another. This observation highlights the complex relation between local microstructure and physical chemistry of surfactants.

Keywords

Foam Surfactant Local velocity Apparent viscosity Gas mobility Formulation Workflow Sandpack Lamellae Strong foam Diphasic flow Oil EOR Soil remediation Mobility reduction Bulk foam 

List of Symbols

fg

Gas fraction

fg

Gas fraction recalculated at different positions in sandpack to account for compressibility effect

fg*

Gas fraction for maximum of apparent viscosity

fg0

Gas fraction at the outlet of sandpack (7 bars)

H0

Foamability

K

Permeability of sandpack

L

Length of sandpack

N

Number of lamellae

Patm

Atmospheric pressure

PBP

Back pressure

Pflow

Pressure created by the foam flow

Qg

Gas flow rate

Qliq

Liquid flow rate

S

Sandpack section

Smobile

Average section where foam lamellae are flowing

Sw

Average section saturated with water

t1/2

Foam half-life time (stability)

vgas

Average velocity of gas in a bubble

vi

Interstitial velocity

vi

Interstitial velocity recalculated at different positions in sandpack to account for compressibility effect

vlamellae

Velocity of a foam lamellae, as defined by the velocity of the air/liquid interface of a flowing lamellae

vliq

Liquid velocity as measured by dyed liquid velocity

αmobile

Ratio of flowing lamellae over total lamellae

ηapp

Apparent viscosity of foam

ηwater

Viscosity of water

Φ

Porosity

Notes

Supplementary material

11242_2018_1226_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (145 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 145 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rhodia Laboratoire du futurSolvayPessac CedexFrance

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