Building a full-scale model of a trapped oil reservoir in a laboratory

But now, University of Alberta researchers have developed a way to replicate oil-trapping rock layers in a laboratory and show energy producers the best way to recover every last bit of oil from these reservoirs.

Mechanical engineering professor Sushanta Mitra led a research team that uses core samples from oil drilling sites to make 3-D mathematical models of the porous rock formations that can trap huge quantities of valuable oil.

The process starts with a tiny chip of rock from a core sample where oil has become trapped, That slice of rock is scanned by a Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscopy machine, which produces a 3-D copy of the porous rock. The replica is made of a thin layer of silicon and quartz at Nanofab, the U of A's micro/nanofabrication facility.

The researchers call the finished product a “reservoir on a chip”, or ROC.

The hugely expensive process of recovering oil in the field is recreated right in our laboratory.. Theresearchers soak the ROC in oil and then water, which is under pressure, is forced into the chip to see how much oil can be pushed through the microscopic channels and recovered.

ROC replicas can be made from core samples from oil-trapping rock anywhere in the world. “Oil exploration companies will be able to use ROC technology to determine what concentration of water and chemicals they'll need to pump into layers of sandstone or limestone to maximize oil recovery,” said Mitra.

The research findings were published in the journal Lab Chip, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Media Contact

Brian Murphy EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ualberta.ca

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Grow faster, die sooner: How growth rates influence the fitness of bacteria

“The fitness of bacteria is more complex than expected,” explains Ulrich Gerland, professor for the theory of complex biosystems at the Technical University of…

Spintronics: Researchers show how to make non-magnetic materials magnetic

In solid-state physics, oxide layers only a few nanometres thick are known to form a so-called two-dimensional electron gas. These thin layers, separated from…

Caterpillars of the wax moth love eating plastic: Fraunhofer LBF investigates degradation process

Within the Framework of a research project on the chemical imaging analysis of plastic digestion in caterpillars (RauPE), a team from Fraunhofer LBF used…