ATCE 2017
Conference paper

Nanoscale flow chip platform for laboratory evaluation of enhanced oil recovery materials

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We present a lab-on-chip platform for the experimental test and evaluation of Enhanced Oil Recovery [EOR] materials that enables direct experimental access to nanoscale and pore scale flow phenomena. The flow chip devices with nanometer scale features are made based on state-of-the-art semiconductor process technology. The chip design is highly customizable and allows for implementation of geometrical model representations (statistical and naturally occuring porosity patterns) that could be tested over a wide range of pressures and temperatures. By using representative chip implementations, we perform controlled flow experiments and lab tests for calibrating pore scale flow models. We discuss the design and manufacturing of the flow chips, report how the flow experiments are performed and how the experimental results are used to calibrate the computational flow simulations. Ultimately, the calibrated flow simulations will be used for predicting the efficiency of EOR materials in a pore scale representation of reservoir rock. The novelty of our research is that it leverages semiconductor process and device technology for EOR lab testing, enabling the experimental validation and calibration of flow through geometrical constrictions as small as 200 nanometers.