Enhanced growth of interacting bubbles

The world’s energy resources have always been of great interest to the scientific community. Apart from the search for sustainable energy solutions, an improved efficiency in utilizing fossil resources would be a big step forward. In the oil industry, pressure depletion is the phenomenon by which the oil reservoir pressure falls along with oil production. Pressure depletion therefore limits the amount of oil that can be drained from a reservoir. A natural mechanism which tends to oppose this phenomenon is the so-called gas drive: gas dissolved in the liquid comes out of solution and tends to sustain the reservoir pressure. This process relies on the nucleation of small bubbles in the porous matrix of the reservoir and their “inflation” by the diffusing gas. Not only is this process beneficial because it limits pressure depletion, but also because it generates the so called “foamy oil”, which has a much smaller effective viscosity than the pure oil constituent and is therefore produced at a much higher rate. Several oil fields in various parts of the world have shown an unexpectedly high production rate, for which ex-solved gas may be responsible. The aim of the present project is a clarification of the fundamental physical mechanisms involved in this process and their quantitative understanding, focusing on diffusion dominated bubble growth. The role of nanoparticles on bubble stability and diffusion enhancement will also be studied in both theoretical and experimental way. Apart from the oil industry, bubble nucleation and diffusive growth is a generic process involved in most industrial degassing operations, which makes the project of great scientific as well as commercial interest.

Info: Andrea Prosperetti

Researchers: Christian Hummelink, Oscar Enríquez, Andrea Prosperetti, Detlef Lohse, Devaraj van der Meer.
Sponsors: FOM, Shell

Publications

Collapse of nonaxisymmetric cavities[arΧiv]
O.R. Enríquez, I.R. Peters, S. Gekle, L.E. Schmidt, M. Versluis, D. van der Meer, and D. Lohse
Phys. Fluids 22, 091104 (2010)BibTeΧ


Max Planck Gesellschaft

MCEC

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