American Journal of Applied Sciences

Lab-on-Chip Methodology in the Energy Industry: Wettability Patterns and Their Impact on Fluid Displacement in Oil Reservoir Models

Marc H. Schneider and Patrick Tabeling

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2011.927.932

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 10

Pages 927-932


Problem statement: We present an experimental study of multiphase transport in porous media with controlled wettability patterns based on lab-on-chip methodology. Approach: Fractional, or patterned, wettability is known to have an enormous impact in the petroleum industry on oil recovery and continuous efforts are being made to assess the role of such conditions. Results: Thus far, due to the absence of the technology required to produce micro fluidic networks modeling porous media (called "micromodels") with well-controlled wettability patterns, experimental results on this question have remained particularly elusive. We recently unlocked this bottleneck and can now selectively alter surface wettability within individual pores and thereby create precisely controlled wettability patterns within "micro models". Conclusion/Recommendations: The experiments we report here reveal the considerable impact of wettability patterning on the oil-water flow behavior (as compared with homogeneous wetting) and the consequence on the amount of liquid left after one phase has been swept through the network, information directly linked to the question of oil recovery.


© 2011 Marc H. Schneider and Patrick Tabeling. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.