Axisymmetric Drainage in Hydrophobic Porous Media Micromodels

We present studies of axisymmetric drainage in two-dimensional micromodels of porous media using up to date microfabricationand image analysis methods. Drainage of model oil by aqueoussolutions is studied at low capillary numbers (Ca) typically encountered during oil recovery operations. We use two types of oil-wetmicromodels: oneis based on a deposition method for creating a random mono layer of micronic glass beads, while the other is made using computer generated random networks etched in glass using wet-lithography. Both models have a central injection scheme and a radial geometry, resulting in a continuous variation of the capillary number during the course of drainage. We first carry out an analysis of experiments at global micromodel scale using computer based image analysis coupled with flow rates and pressure drop measurements. Basic relevant parameters such as permeability, porosity of the micromodel and residual oil in place after waterflooding are extracted.

We then take advantage of the ease of observation in transparent micromodels to investigate the drainage phenomenon at local scale. Local saturation and front width are measured as a function of the local capillary number. Interestingly, because of the radial flow geometry, our experiments allow a continuous plotting of the micromodels capillary desaturation curve on several decades. As expected but never precisely observed, all points of various experiments collapse on a single capillary desaturation curve for a given micromodel. However, we observe dissimilar behaviors between the two types of micromodels. We discuss this phenomenon in light of the pore scale geometrical differences between the two models.

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