Filtration mechanism of suspensions of microgels

Abstract : The flow of suspensions in porous media is a complex phenomenon due to the mechanisms involved such as both shear and extensional flows (Herzig, Leclerc, & Goff, 1970). Their use in industrial applications is quite extensive with one of the major applications being at various stages of oil and gas production operations. At several stages of a well construction, flow of fluid between the well and the surrounding porous rock formation is prevented thanks to the polymeric fluid loss control additives. Fluid loss is a severe problem if not controlled, which would add up to the total cost of operations and more importantly could have hazardous impacts on the environment or operators. Among several technologies industrially available, polymeric additives popularly known as fluid loss additives such as microgels and latex particles are added to the injected fluids to limit the loss of fluid (usually water) via the mechanism of pore clogging/jamming in porous media.Many of these fluid loss additives have been tested for their jamming behaviour by conventional methods which involve the application of a high pressure difference (typically 35-70 bars) on the formulated fluid comprising of the additives against a filter representative of the formation’s typical pore size (either a metallic grid, ceramic or filter paper) and the measurement of the filtrate volume versus time. However, these standard methods do not give any insight in understanding the underlying mechanism of jamming dynamics in porous media, hence, a better understanding of the mechanism of jamming in porous media by industrial fluid loss additives is needed.In this work, we use chemically cross-linked microgel suspensions as the fluid loss additive and study its jamming behaviour in transparent model porous media. We make use of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) devices as model porous media which allows direct observation of the jamming process coupled with quantitative measurements. We fabricate microfluidic devices for frontal flow filtration and lateral flow filtration with different pore sizes to see how parameters like surface wettability, particle concentration, particle size and flow rates affect the filter cake formation.We present a method of controlling the size of the microgel suspensions. We then describe an approach for preparing higher concentration suspensions and investigate the rheology of the suspensions as a function of concentration. Furthermore, we present a simple method of forming a filter cake of the microgel suspension on a supporting membrane and estimate the permeability of the filter cake formed for the flow of water using Darcy’s law.
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Swati Kaushik. Filtration mechanism of suspensions of microgels. Other. Université de Bordeaux, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019BORD0019⟩. ⟨tel-02152640⟩

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