5 years ago

The two-phase flow IPTT method for measurement of nonwetting-wetting liquid interfacial areas at higher nonwetting saturations in natural porous media.

Brusseau, Wang, Ouni, Zhong, Lin
Interfacial areas between nonwetting-wetting (NW-W) liquids in natural porous media were measured using a modified version of the interfacial partitioning tracer test (IPTT) method that employed simultaneous two-phase flow conditions, which allowed measurement at NW saturations higher than trapped residual saturation. Measurements were conducted over a range of saturations for a well-sorted quartz sand under three wetting scenarios of primary drainage (PD), secondary imbibition (SI), and secondary drainage (SD). Limited sets of experiments were also conducted for a model glass-bead medium and for a soil. The measured interfacial areas were compared to interfacial areas measured using the standard IPTT method for liquid-liquid systems, which employs residual NW saturations. In addition, the theoretical maximum interfacial areas estimated from the measured data are compared to specific solid surface areas measured with the N2/BET method and estimated based on geometrical calculations for smooth spheres. Interfacial areas increase linearly with decreasing water saturation over the range of saturations employed. The maximum interfacial areas determined for the glass beads, which have no surface roughness, are 32±4 and 36±5 cm(-1) for PD and SI cycles, respectively. The values are similar to the geometric specific solid surface area (31±2 cm(-1)) and the N2/BET solid surface area (28±2 cm(-1)). The maximum interfacial areas are 274±38, 235±27, and 581±160 cm(-1) for the sand for PD, SI, and SD cycles, respectively, and ~7625 cm(-1) for the soil for PD and SI. The maximum interfacial areas for the sand and soil are significantly larger than the estimated smooth-sphere specific solid surface areas (107±8 cm(-1) and 152±8 cm(-1), respectively), but much smaller than the N2/BET solid surface area (1387±92 cm(-1) and 55224 cm(-1), respectively). The NW-W interfacial areas measured with the two-phase flow method compare well to values measured using the standard IPTT method.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018783

DOI: 10.1002/2016WR018783

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