Characterization of two phase flow and transport in porous media through image processing: a micro-scale study in the context of enhanced oil recovery

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Omar Godinez Brizuela


The present work encompasses a study of two fluid phase flow and mass transfer in porous media through the use of micromodel experiments. Multiphase flow in porous media has important applications in enhanced oil recovery, hydrogeology and soil physics. Micro-scale studies can enhance the in-depth understanding of the underlying physical phenomena in these applications. In this study, the two-phase flow transport mechanisms in porous media are investigated using micromodel experiments. In these experiments, the spatial distribution of data is acquired in the form of photographic images of the porous medium under different flow conditions externally measured. Then, by developing image-processing codes, the internal flow properties are calculated. This work is divided in two major parts. The first part deals with the image processing of unsteady state two-phase flow micromodel experiments and the second one focuses on transient advective-diffusive transport in micromodel experiments under two-phase flow conditions. Each part has a specific scientific objective. In the first part the role of corner interfacial area in two phase flow in capillary pressure-saturation hysteresis is explored as well as the relation between the dynamic and equilibrium conditions. This objective addresses the recent efforts in exploring the uniqueness of the capillary pressure-saturation-interfacial area surface. In the second part, the direct calculation of the transport coefficients for the mobile-immobile model and non-Fickian solute transport in porous media under two-phase flow conditions are studied. Both of these applications produce insights valuable for the modelling and improvement of multiple enhanced oil recovery technologies, such as low salinity water flooding or surfactant polymer flooding. The major output of this work, aside from the individual application results, is the generation of a suite of image processing tools developed specifically for these applications. These tools have been developed to be as robust and modular as possible, such that they are suitable to be used in varied applications in the future.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2016