Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 407–418 | Cite as

Computerized Tomography Study of the Microscopic Flow Mechanism of Polymer Flooding

  • Jian HouEmail author
  • Zhenquan Li
  • Sunkang Zhang
  • Xulong Cao
  • Qingjun Du
  • Xinwang Song


The microscopic flow mechanism of polymer flooding was examined using an industrial microfocus computerized tomography system. On the basis of scanned slices acquired in the process of water flooding and polymer flooding, three-dimensional visualization of oil and water distribution in different flooding conditions was achieved with a series of image processing methods, including pre-processing, interpolation, segmentation, and three-dimensional construction, which are effective techniques for both the qualitative description and the quantitative characterization of the microscopic flow mechanism. This study has confirmed the suggestion that the displacement efficiency of polymer flooding is higher than that of water flooding, and effectively revealed the microscopic mechanism of oil recovery in polymer flooding. The water/oil mobility ratio was improved after polymer flooding, which resulted in a break of the “equilibrium” flow field that was formed during water flooding and the redistribution of the regions of oil saturation. The remaining oil was flushed out as the result of the flow redirection and the viscoelastic effect of polymer flooding. Compared to water flooding, polymer flooding increased the microscopic sweep efficiency as well as the microscopic displacement efficiency, and thereby the ultimate oil recovery.


CT experiment Water flooding Polymer flooding Microscopic flow 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Hou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhenquan Li
    • 2
  • Sunkang Zhang
    • 3
  • Xulong Cao
    • 2
  • Qingjun Du
    • 1
  • Xinwang Song
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Petroleum EngineeringChina University of PetroleumDongyingChina
  2. 2.Research Institute of Geologic ScienceShengli OilfieldDongyingChina
  3. 3.Research Institute of Geologic ScienceJiangsu OilfieldYangzouChina

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