The Anomalous Origin of Polymer Enhanced Oil Recovery
Dr. Shima Parsa
School of Physics and Astronomy, RIT
Polymer flooding is one of the most economically viable methods for enhanced oil recovery. It is typically used in reservoirs where recovery of oil by water injection declines. Polymer enhanced oil recovery is achieved by flowing a small volume of a polymer solution into the reservoir, followed by more water. Although polymer flooding is primarily developed for increasing the viscosity of the displacing fluid to match that of the oil, enhanced recovery is observed for oils as much as two orders of magnitude more viscous than the polymer solution with surprisingly significant recovery during the second water. To understand this behavior, we use confocal microscopy and particle tracking to determine the velocities of the displacing fluid around trapped oil in a 3D micromodel of porous medium. We find that some polymer is retained in the medium resulting in reduction in the permeability and large and heterogenous changes in the local fluid velocities with as much as an order of magnitude increase in some pores, leading to further mobilization of trapped oil.
Shima Parsa is an assistant professor of Physics at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has joined RIT in 2019 after her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where she studied dynamics of multiphase flow in porous media with applications in oil recovery. Shima completed her PhD in Physics at Wesleyan University, where she studied the dynamics of anisotropic particles in turbulence. She is an experimental Physicist with a passion for developing observational and imaging techniques to study Soft Matter. Her research at RIT spans from microfluidics to large scale sedimentation in river with a focus on understanding the fundamental physics of interaction between many bodies mediated by fluid flow.
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When and Where
3:30 PM-4:45 PM
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
Open to the Public