Institute of Petroleum Engineering

Project: Ultrasonic & Sonic Stimulation (USS)

Computer and equipment

Figure 1. The experimental set-up for studying USS application using a capillary tube.

The use of ultrasonic energy to enhance transport rates in various chemical processes, such as extraction, agglomeration and crystallisation has long been established. A number of research reports on accelerating the liquid flow in porous media by ultrasonic radiation have also been published. It has been postulated that ultrasonic radiation deforms the pore walls in the shape of travelling transversal waves. The proposed mechanism is identical to that of peristaltic pumping occurring in the organs of living body. In multiphase flow systems, ultrasonic radiation may also lead to mixing of phases and lowering of interfacial tension resulting in improved fluid displacement in porous media. The prevailing mechanisms which could result in improved recovery of hydrocarbon are investigated in this laboratory by conducting flow visualisation at the pore level, using high pressure micromodels, and flow tests in rock samples at simulated reservoir conditions.