Our group uses high-performance computing and experiments to study multiphase flows and fluid properties.
Particle-laden flow is an important type of industrial multiphase flows. Particle size ranges from sub-micrometer (aerosols) to tens of micrometers (powders) to millimeters (proppants and drill cuttings). The suspending fluid can be gas, liquid, or non-Newtonian fluids (hydraulic fracturing and drilling). The complex interplay between fluids and particles generates significant interests, as well as challenges, in understanding and modeling of the rheology.
Flow through porous media is another important kind of multiphase flows. In porous media, the solid phase is fixed and continuous; however, it leaves a continuous pore space to allow fluids to flow through. Fluid flow is typically driven by pressure and capillary forces. In very small pores, fluid motion is also affected by fluid-surface interactions and can be generated by gradients in temperature and chemical potential. Pore fluids can carry solutes or colloids along with them. Flow through porous media has significant applications in petroleum reservoir engineering, groundwater hydrology, contaminant transport, and filtration.
Research of reservoir fluid properties includes of measurements and modeling of density and viscosity of fluids as well as phase behavior and interfacial tension. Traditionally, these properties were measured for bulk fluids in the absence of porous medium. As oil and gas confined in tight rocks become viable and critical resources, the effect of confinement on fluid properties become important topics of fundamental study.
Xiaoqi Li presented work at the AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, USA.
Shaken Kenzhekhanov successfully defended MS thesis, "Chemical EOR process visualization using NOA81 micromodels".
Lei Wang's paper "Effect of pore-size distribution on phase transition of hydrocarbon mixtures in nanoporous media", is published at SPE Journal.
Yang Guo, Jingwei Huang, and Feng Xiao's joint paper, "Bead-based microfluidic sediment analogues: Fabrication and colloid transport", is published at Langmuir.
Lei Wang, Bowen Yao, Minsu Cha, and Taylor Patterson's joint paper, "Waterless fracturing technologies for unconventional reservoirs - opportunities for liquid nitrogen", is published at Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.