Hydrodynamics of oil in contact with an aqueous foam : wetting, imbibition dynamics and flow in rough confined media

Abstract : The extraction of raw materials from the soil for energetical (enhanced oil recovery) and environmental purposes (soil remediation) is the subject of intense fundamental and applied research. This field is related to other important topics, such as carbon sequestration and hydraulic fracturing. The goal is to find fewer destructive, as well as energy and material-saving methods. These techniques should also be cost-effective and more efficient. To find a substitution to conventional means, we study an alternative method that puts aqueous foams on the map as the extraction material. Aqueous foams are often used in numerous daily applications, such as cosmetics and detergency, but also in less known fields, such as the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and the oil industry. Thus, surfactants and gas are commonly injected into the soil to improve the recovery processes of oil. We explain two extraction mechanisms that we quantify in terms of efficiency and stability. On one hand, the foam is able to absorb oil, similarly to a solid sponge. On the other hand, when a flow of foam is induced, the foam can entrain oil confined in the roughness of a surface by shearing the oil-water interface. Our work especially lies on a theoretical and experimental analysis, which is multiscale, static and dynamic. We systematically vary the geometrical parameters (oil configuration, bubble size and liquid fraction in the foam) and the physical and chemical parameters (interfacial tensions, interfacial rigidity and viscosity)
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Rémy Mensire. Hydrodynamics of oil in contact with an aqueous foam : wetting, imbibition dynamics and flow in rough confined media. Reactive fluid environment. Université Paris-Est, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016PESC1137⟩. ⟨tel-01459477⟩

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