Dr. Wen Song, Assistant Professor
Hildebrand Dept. of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
Sustainable petroleum recovery requires fundamental understanding of the pore-scale fluid-mineral interactions that ultimately dictate multiphase transport through the subsurface. To understand transport dynamics in petroleum reservoirs, I develop novel real-rock microfluidics with geometric- and mineralogical-representation of geological media and use them to provide powerful direct, real-time pore-scale flow visualization of the fundamental pore-scale transport dynamics. In this talk, I describe techniques to develop real-rock microfluidics and engineering science advances made using real-rock microfluidics. Specifically, I present the first direct visual observation of crude oil/brine/mineral interactions in subsurface systems, discovery of a clay-stabilized Pickering emulsification mechanism, and application of the fundamental emulsification mechanism towards designing a method that improves hydrocarbon recovery by 8%. Looking forward, I describe my vision for leveraging real-rock microfluidics to advance engineering science knowledge in key subsurface opportunities for energy resources recovery.