The Anomalous Origin of Polymer Enhanced Oil Recovery

Shima Parsa, Rochester Institute of Technology

Friday, November 8, 2019
1:30 p.m.

Hopeman 224

Polymer flooding is one of the most economically viable methods for enhanced oil recovery. It is typically used in reservoirs where recovery of oil by water injection declines. Polymer enhanced oil recovery is achieved by flowing a small volume of a polymer solution into the reservoir, followed by more water. Although polymer flooding is primarily developed to suppress viscous fingering, enhanced recovery is observed even for extremely viscous oils. To understand this behavior, we use confocal microscopy and particle tracking to determine the velocities of the displacing fluid around trapped oil in a 3D micromodel of porous medium. We find that a counter intuitive mechanism results in enhanced recovery, only measurable by accessing the flow dynamics at the smallest scales and of single pores.

Shima Parsa, Biography

Shima Parsa is an assistant professor of Physics at RIT. She is an experimental Soft Matter Physicist and her research spans from flow of complex fluids in porous media to transport of particles by turbulent flow. She studies the dynamics at the small scales and investigates the correlation between the smallest scales and the bulk properties of the flow.

Shima has joined RIT in 2019 after her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard in Applied Physics, where she studied dynamics of multiphase flow in porous media with applications in oil recovery. She completed her PhD in Physics at Wesleyan where she studied the dynamics of fibers in turbulence.