Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 647–668 | Cite as

A Study of Microscale Gas Trapping Using Etched Silicon Micromodels

  • Markus Buchgraber
  • Anthony R. KovscekEmail author
  • Louis M. Castanier


Immobilization and trapping of carbon dioxide (CO2) enhances the security of geological storage. Trapping mechanisms have been characterized in four groups: structural, residual, dissolution, and mineralization. While structural trapping acts immediately when injection starts and is well investigated, the contribution of residual and dissolution trapping increases over storage time and these contributions need to be better understood for better predictions. This paper focuses on an experimental pore-scale investigation of residual and capillary trapping. CO2–water imbibition experiments were conducted in micromodels whose homogenous pore space is geometrically and topologically similar to Berea sandstone. Microvisual data, photographs and video footage, describes the trapping mechanism and, especially, the disconnection and shrinkage of the CO2 phase. Results show that depending on the flow rate of the imbibing water different trapping mechanisms are observed. Lower flow rates, comparable to the trailing edge of a CO2 plume, lead to more snap-off events and greater trapped residual saturation, whereas rates comparable to the near wellbore area during enhanced sequestration showed displacement of gas bubbles and greater dissolution that ultimately leads to very low or zero gas saturations. Furthermore, complete dissolution events showed that homogenous as well as heterogeneous dissolution occurs. Whereas the latter is subdivided into microbubble formation and dissolution on crevices or pore roughness, the former occurs without the influence of pore walls. Based on the observations we suggest that the type of rock and its roughness as well as the fines present at the CO2 brine interface are important factors determining the dissolution mechanism.


Dissolution Micromodel Carbon sequestration Imbibition Residual gas saturation 

List of symbols


Capillary number


Flow rate cm3/s


Velocity (cm/s)


Interfacial tension (mN/m)


Viscosity (Pa s)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Buchgraber
    • 1
  • Anthony R. Kovscek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louis M. Castanier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Energy Resources EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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