Experimental pore-scale analysis of fluid interfacial areas in oil-wet and water-wet bead packs

Open Access
Landry, Christopher James
Graduate Program:
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 15, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Zuleima T Karpyn, Thesis Advisor
  • Meniscus
  • interfacial area
  • computed microtomography
  • multiphase
  • wettability
  • pore-scale
  • hysteresis
The objective of this study is to obtain quantitative measurements of fluid distribution at the pore-scale utilizing x-ray computed microtomography (CMT) for both an oil-wet bead pack and a water-wet bead pack. The entire bead pack is scanned to ascertain the extent of inlet/outlet boundary effects. Three imbibitions of the oil-wet bead pack resulted in two fluid distribution zones, one showing no hysteresis due to saturation history and one showing distinct hysteresis due to saturation history. These fluid distribution zones are the result of initial saturation states, which have resulted from gravity segregated drainages. Interfacial areas between phases are calculated from processed CMT images. The specific total interfacial area of the fluids is shown to correlate linearly with non-wetting phase saturation, while specific meniscus interfacial area of the fluids is shown to trend towards a maximum at a non-wetting phase saturation of 0.25 to 0.40 independent of fluid distribution zone, cycle of flooding, saturation history and wettability. For strongly wetting bead packs interfacial areas are found to be critically controlled by pore space morphology.