Identification of Novel Fluid-Fluid Interfacial Area in Geologic Media

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Juliana B Araujo, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States and Mark L Brusseau, University of Arizona, Soil, Water, and Environmental Science Department and Hydrology and Water Resource Department, Tucson, AZ, United States
Pore-scale fluid processes in geological media are critical for applications such as oil and gas recovery, radioactive waste disposal, carbon sequestration, soil moisture distribution, soil and groundwater pollution, and land stability. The continued improvement of high-resolution image acquisition and processing methods has provided a means to directly measure pore-scale fluid processes for natural geomedia, and to test the usefulness of theoretical and computational models developed to simulate them. High-resolution synchrotron X-ray microtomography was used to measure air-water interfacial area at multiple wetting-phase saturations for natural sand. Analysis of the raw and processed image data with advanced visualization tools revealed the presence of air-water interface associated with macroscopic features such as pits and crevices on the surfaces of the solids. These features and respective fluid interfaces, which are not accounted for in current theoretical or computational models, may have a significant impact on accurate understanding and simulation of multi-phase flow, energy, heat, and mass transfer, and contaminant transport.