Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering ( IF 3.552 ) Pub Date : 2019-10-01 , DOI: 10.1007/s11705-019-1835-y Jin Zhao; Guice Yao; Dongsheng Wen
Water/oil flow characteristics in a water-wet capillary were simulated at the pore scale to increase our understanding on immiscible flow and enhanced oil recovery. Volume of fluid method was used to capture the interface between oil and water and a pore-throat connecting structure was established to investigate the effects of viscosity, interfacial tension (IFT) and capillary number (Ca). The results show that during a water displacement process, an initial continuous oil phase can be snapped off in the water-wet pore due to the capillary effect. By altering the viscosity of the displacing fluid and the IFT between the wetting and non-wetting phases, the snapped-off phenomenon can be eliminated or reduced during the displacement. A stable displacement can be obtained under high Ca number conditions. Different displacement effects can be obtained at the same Ca number due to its significant influence on the flow state, i.e., snapped-off flow, transient flow and stable flow, and ultralow IFT alone would not ensure a very high recovery rate due to the fingering flow occurrence. A flow chart relating flow states and the corresponding oil recovery factor is established.