Fundamental investigation of foam flow in a liquid-filled Hele-Shaw cell

Osei-Bonsu, Kofi and Shokri, Nima and Grassia, Paul (2016) Fundamental investigation of foam flow in a liquid-filled Hele-Shaw cell. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 462. pp. 288-296. ISSN 0021-9797 (

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The relative immobility of foam in porous media suppresses the formation of fingers during oil displacement leading to a more stable displacement which is desired in various processes such as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) or soil remediation practices. Various parameters may influence the efficiency of foam-assisted oil displacement such as properties of oil, the permeability and heterogeneity of the porous medium and physical and chemical characteristics of foam. In the present work, we have conducted a comprehensive series of experiments using customised Hele-Shaw cells filled with either water or oil to describe the effects of foam quality, permeability of the cell as well as the injection rate on the apparent viscosity of foam which is required to investigate foam displacement. Our results reveal the significant impact of foam texture and bubble size on the foam apparent viscosity. Foams with smaller bubble sizes have a higher apparent viscosity. This statement only applies (strictly speaking) when the foam quality is constant. However, wet foams with smaller bubbles may have lower apparent viscosity compared to dry foams with larger bubbles. Furthermore, our results show the occurrence of more stable foam-water fronts as foam quality decreases. Besides, the complexity of oil displacement by foam as well as its destabilizing effects on foam displacement has been discussed. Our results extend the physical understanding of foam-assisted liquid displacement in Hele-Shaw cell which is a step to required to understanding the foam flow behaviour in more complex systems such as porous media.