Our overall goal is to develop generic methods to describe complex fluid systems in tools that can be incorporated into scaleable and robust multiphase flow assurance models needed by the petroleum industry for developing new production solutions for oil fields with complex well fluids.
Lattice Boltzmann simulation of a two-phase flow.
The classes of fluids to be addressed in the FACE Centre are suspensions, emulsions and heavy crudes. Collectively, these are referred to as “complex fluids”. The challenge of the FACE Centre is to address Flow Assurance in Multiphase Systems, so that the models and other tools developed in this project must be capable of describing multiphase flows in which one or more of the phases is a complex fluid.
2D simulation of emulsion stability.
The upper movie shows that coalescence stops at a certain characteristic droplet size, when there is surfactant in the system. Equilibrium is reached when the energy in the system is at a minimum, determined by the balance between interfacial energy (surface tension times total surface area, which is large for a large number of small droplets) and the chemical potential energy of the surfactant. The lower movie shows the same case, but without surfactant. Here one would eventually have one single droplet, providing the minimum surface energy.
Both cases are in zero g, and with no walls (periodic boundaries). These cases can also be studied with moving walls and with gravity, to understand more of the rheological properties of oil/water emulsions for complex fluids containing surfactants.
Published December 11, 2007
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