Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 18

Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 18



Another year has gone by,

and it is time again to greet

the alumni and friends of

the Petroleum Engineering


Year 2013 sees the

graduation of my first two

PhDs. Dr. Ronglei Zhang,

hooded in December

2013, is a student that I co-

advised with Prof. Yu-Shu

Wu. Ronglei developed

a fully coupled thermal,

Xiaolong Yin geomechanical,




simulator for CO2 sequestration. He is now working for Chevron. Dr. Feng Xiao, also hooded in December 2013, developed high-performance parallel pore-scale flow and transport simulators. He is now working for ExxonMobil.

Water (dark fluid – dyed with food color) displacing mineral oil (colorless) from random porous media models embossed on polymer microfluidic chips. (a) and (c) are for brine flooding and (b) and (d) are for surfactant flooding. This work will appear in Physics of Fluids.

I continue to teach PEGN 310 Fluid Properties, PEGN 315 Field Session I, and PEGN 601 Applied Mathematics. The enrollment is now somewhat “stabilized” at about 200 in PEGN 310 and PEGN 315. Coordinating classes of this size has involved a lot of work … luckily we are assisted by great teaching assistants, and, for the case of PEGN 315, the support we received from our alumni and companies is simply unparalleled.

Our group is currently working on several industry-funded and government-funded projects. The main research theme is computational fluid flow and phase behavior. We use Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) to tackle the fluid flow equation in complex systems such suspensions and porous media. We are interested in stability and cluster formation in gas-solid particulate flows (National Science Foundation), and slip flow of gases through nanopores of tight porous medium (Petroleum Research Fund, American Chemical Society). In addition, we presented and published several papers on phase behavior of petroleum fluids in nanopores. In microfluidics and nanofluidics, Keith and I published our collaborated work (see figures below) on oil-water displacements in nanochannel and microchannel networks. In geomechanics, our collaborative project with Pioneer Natural Resources (headed by Dr. Yu- Shu Wu and funded by US Department of Energy) research cryogenic fracturing has also made great progress – we are going to fracture rocks with liquid nitrogen!

Semi-final – Robben vs. Messi

Being a soccer fan, the summer of 2014 was a festival as the World Cup returned to Brazil. My wife and I acquired some tickets and we watched games in Brasilia and Sao Paulo. It was a great trip as I have never been to the Latin America. It was also an unforgettable tour about football, people, and culture.

Nanochannel network etched on a silicon substrate and image of water-oil displacement from an experiment. Reference: SPE 169147 – SPE Improved Oil

Recovery Symposium, 2014.