Smart Fluids

Quoc P. Nguyen

Polymer and polymer gels have long been used in improved oil recovery, near wellbore treatments, and environmental remediation. A major drawback of using polymeric systems is a high risk of damaging the formation, due primarily to a strong adsorption of the polymers.

Viscoelastic surfactants recently developed not only overcome this problem, but also exhibit more advantages. For example, self-diversion of acid to the desired areas. However, the development of these "smart" fluids has not advanced far enough to ensure its successful performance under high temperature, high shear rate, presence of third phases (oil, solid particle), and for a wide variation of rock physicochemical properties. This is most likely due to the fact that the mechanisms acting for structural aggregate formation in porous media are poorly understood. This proposed project is aimed at developing a mechanistic rheological model for viscoelastic surfactants in different flow geometries, based on the molecular design. The main concern is the formation and stability of surfactant aggregates in disordered pore networks, including the effect of polymeric additives in maintaining the viscoelasticity at elevated temperatures.

Other Proposed Research Projects

Predictive Pore-level Modeling for Flow and Transport Processes - Steven L. Bryant

Advanced Fractional-Flow Methods - Russell T. Johns, Larry W. Lake

Integrated Compositional and Foam Simulation for Gas Flooding - Russell T. Johns, Gary A. Pope

Scaling Laws for Dispersion in Porous Media - Sanjay Srinivasan and Larry W. Lake

Influence of Geological Heterogeneity on Flow - Sanjay Srinivasan

Virtual Petrophysical Measurements: Using Model Rocks to Quantitatively Predict Macroscopic Transport Coefficients (Relative Permeability, Resistivity, Acoustic Velocity) - Steven L. Bryant