Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The Effect of Flowrate on Trapping in a Two-phase System as it Relates to CO₂ Sequestration Public Deposited

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  • This research examines the independent and combined effects of drainage and imbibition flowrate on nonwetting phase capillary trapping in a two-phase, porous medium system. A uniform system of cubic arrangement and non-uniform systems of both cubic and rhombohedral arrangements were examined in order to analyze and compare the nonwetting phase trapping trends between uniform and non-uniform porous media. The unique system set-up, composed of similar refractive indexes of the wetting phase and medium, allows flow experiments to be performed in 3-D printed bead packs (of different arrangements) (44.8x44.8x2.8mm) and quantified with 2-D images. All beads are 700μm in diameter, comparable to the grain size of a sandstone. Soltrol and water (proxy fluids for brine and supercritical CO₂) were used in flow experiments. For the uniform cubic arrangement, it was found that slower drainage flowrates, regardless of the subsequent imbibition flowrate, resulted in the largest amount of nonwetting phase trapped in comparison to higher drainage flowrates. Slow drainages correspond to a capillary dominated flow regime and greater disconnect of the nonwetting phase post-drainage, both of which are found to be conducive to nonwetting phase trapping. However, increasing non- uniformity (or the introduction of high porosity zones) in a cubic bead pack was observed to alter this trend, while trends determined by the uniform cubic arrangement were also observed on the non-uniform rhombohedral bead pack. It is therefore suggested that drainage flowrate (scCO₂ injection) and a system’s uniformity (formation heterogeneity) be considered in order to favorably influence trapping efficiency in scCO₂ injection schemes.
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