ME Faculty Candidate Shima Parsa Research Seminar
- Monday, February 4, 2019 at 3:10pm
- Roberts Hall, 312A - view map
The Anomalous Origin of Polymer Enhanced Oil Recovery
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Polymer flooding is one of the most economically viable methods for enhanced oil recovery. It is typically used in reservoirs where recovery of oil by water injection declines. Polymer enhanced oil recovery is achieved by flowing a small volume of a polymer solution into the reservoir, followed by more water. Although polymer flooding is primarily developed for avoiding viscous fingering by increasing the viscosity of the displacing fluid to match that of the oil, enhanced recovery is observed for very viscous oils. To understand this behavior, we probe the dynamics of the displacing fluid and oil within the pores using confocal microscopy and particle tracking in a 3D micromodel. We find that polymer retention and permeability reduction result in displacement of additional oil, counter to the general practice in oil recovery. However, the pore level measurements reveal the extremely heterogenous flow distribution in porous media which is exacerbated by polymer retention leading to further mobilization of oil.
Shima Parsa is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She studies dynamics of multiphase flow in porous media with applications in oil recovery and ground water remediation. She focuses on understanding the underlying physical mechanism that leads to mobilization of oil in polymer flooding, a method of enhanced oil recovery, through experimental measurement of the flow behavior at microscopic scales. Her research has led to the discovery of an anomalous and unexpected origin for polymer enhanced recovery. Shima completed her PhD in Physics at Wesleyan University, where she studied the dynamics of anisotropic particles in turbulence. She developed new experimental techniques to investigate the full rotational dynamics of anisotropic particles at high Reynolds number.
- Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering