An Experimental Study of Foam Trapping and Foam Mobility in a Model Fracture

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By trapping gas, foam can improve the sweep efficiency in enhanced oil recovery. In this study, to understand gas trapping in fractures, we have conducted experiments in a model fracture with a hydraulic aperture of 80 μm. One wall of the fracture is rough, and the other wall is smooth. The fracture is made of two glass plates and the direct visualization of foam flow inside the fracture is facilitated using a high-speed camera. ImageJ has been used to perform image analysis and quantify the properties of the foam. We find that pre-generated foam has been further refined inside the model. Foam flow reaches local equilibrium, where the rate of bubble generation equals that of bubble destruction, within the model. Foam texture becomes finer and less gas is trapped as the interstitial velocity and pressure gradient increase. Shear-thinning rheology of foam has also been observed. The behavior of gas trapping in our model fracture is different from that in other geological porous media. The fraction of trapped gas is much lower (less than 7%). At the extreme, when velocity increases to 6.8 mm/s (pressure gradient to 1.8 bar/m), all the foam bubbles are flowing and there is no gas trapped inside the fracture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIOR 2021 - 21st European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery
Subtitle of host publication21st European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, 19-22 April 2021, Online Event
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789462823761
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event21st European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery: Sustainable Ways to Maximize Recovery - Online event
Duration: 19 Apr 202122 Apr 2021


Conference21st European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery
Abbreviated titleIOR 2021
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Gas trapping
  • Foam EOR
  • Foam mobility
  • Fractures


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