The Dynamics of Nanoparticle-enhanced Fluid Displacement in Porous Media - A Pore-scale Study

Tannaz Pak, Nathaly Lopes Archilha, Iara Frangiotti Mantovani, Anderson Camargo Moreira, Ian B Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work provides new insights into the dynamics of silica nanoparticle-based removal of organic fluids (here oil) from naturally occurring porous media. We have used 4D (time-resolved 3D) imaging at pore-scale using X-ray computed micro-tomography (μCT) technique. The captured 3D tomographic time-series data reveal the dynamics of immiscible oil displacement from a carbonate rock upon injection of nanoparticle (NP) suspensions (0.06 and 0.12 wt% SiO2 in deionised water). Our analysis shows significant pore-scale remobilisation of initially trapped oil upon injection of the NP suspensions, specifically, at higher concentration. Our data shows that oil clusters become significantly smaller with larger fluid/fluid interface as a result of the higher concentration NP injection. This paper demonstrates that use of 2D radiograms collected during fluid injections allows monitoring flow dynamics at time resolutions down to a few seconds using conventional laboratory-based μCT scanners. Here, as an underlying mechanism for oil remobilisation, we present the first 4D evidence of in-situ formation of an oil in water emulsion induced by nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11148
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018


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