Dynamic Network Model of Mobility Control in Emulsion Flow Through Porous Media
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Modeling the flow of emulsion in porous media is extremely challenging due to the complex nature of the associated flows and multiscale phenomena. At the pore scale, the dispersed phase size can be of the same order of magnitude of the pore length scale and therefore effective viscosity models do not apply. A physically meaningful macroscopic flow model must incorporate the transport of the dispersed phase through the porous material and the changes on flow resistance due to drop deformation as it flows through pore throats. In this work, we present a dynamic capillary network model that uses experimentally determined pore-level constitutive relationships between flow rate and pressure drop in constricted capillaries to obtain representative transient macroscopic flow behavior emerging from microscopic emulsion flow at the pore level. A parametric analysis is conducted to study the effect of dispersed phase droplet size and capillary number on the flow response to both emulsion and alternating water/emulsion flooding in porous media. The results clearly show that emulsion flooding changes the continuous-phase mobility and consequently flow paths through the porous media, and how the intensity of mobility control can be tuned by the emulsion characteristics.
KeywordsEmulsion Mobility control Capillary network model
This research was funded by grants from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq) and Petrobras. We would like to acknowledge the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute at the University of Wyoming for additional financial assistance.
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