Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 46, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Nanomodel visualization of fluid injections in tight formations

Author affiliations


The transport and phase change of a complex fluid mixture under nanoconfinement is of fundamental importance in nanoscience, and limits the recovery efficiency from tight oil reservoirs (<10%). Herein, through experiments and supporting theory we characterize the transport and phase change of a nanoconfined complex fluid mixture. Our nanofluidic platform, nanomodel, replicates shale reservoirs in terms of mean pore size (∼100 nm), permeability (∼μD) and porosity (∼10%). We screen conditions for the most promising shale EOR strategies, directly quantifying their pore-scale efficiency and underlying mechanisms. We find that immiscible gas (N2) flooding presents a prohibitively large capillary pressure threshold (∼2 MPa). Miscible (CO2) gas flooding eliminates this threshold leading to film-wise stable oil displacement with high recovery efficiency. Strong capillary forces present barriers as well as opportunities for recovery strategies unique to nanoporous reservoirs by transitioning from a miscible to an immiscible condition locally within the reservoir. These results quantify the fundamental transport and phase change mechanisms applicable to nanoconfined complex fluids, with direct implications in unconventional oil as well as nanoporous media more broadly.

Graphical abstract: Nanomodel visualization of fluid injections in tight formations

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 28 Aug 2018, accepted on 22 Oct 2018 and first published on 14 Nov 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06937A
Nanoscale, 2018,10, 21994-22002

  •   Request permissions

    Nanomodel visualization of fluid injections in tight formations

    J. Zhong, A. Abedini, L. Xu, Y. Xu, Z. Qi, F. Mostowfi and D. Sinton, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 21994
    DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06937A

Search articles by author