An Evaluation of Diffusion Effects in Miscible Displacement
- L.L. Handy (California Research Corp.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1959
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 61 - 63
- 1959. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.6.5 Tracers, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
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The development of a theory for miscible liquid displacement requires evaluation of the variables which affect growth of the mixing zone between solvent and displaced oil. Factors which appear to be important are individual fluid viscosities, viscosity ratios, flood rate, fluid densities, flow characteristics of the porous medium and molecular diffusion coefficients of the fluid components. The primary purpose of this paper is to evaluate diffusion effects.
Theoretical treatments to date have been limited to floods for which the viscosity ratio is one. Two principal theories have been proposed. Von Rosenberg adapted for porous media a theory derived for capillary tubes by G. Taylor. In this theory molecular diffusion perpendicular to the direction of flow is a primary factor in sharpening the flood front. Slow floods give sharper fronts for a given distance traveled than fast floods.
An alternative theory considers miscible liquid displacement as a statistical problem. Diffusion is not an important factor in this theory, but it leads to the same general type of equation as von Rosenberg's. Both theories predict S-shaped concentration profiles with the same dependence on distance traveled. The statistical or "dispersion" theory predicts rate independence, however. To supplement rate studies a direct measurement of a diffusion effect would be helpful in evaluating which of the two proposed mechanisms best describes miscible liquid displacement for one-to-one viscosity ratio systems.
No quantitative theory has been proposed for floods in which a low-viscosity fluid displaces a high-viscosity fluid. It might be anticipated, however, that the extensive fingering observed in floods with adverse viscosity ratios would increase opportunities for an exchange of components between displaced and displacing liquids by a diffusional process. Even if molecular diffusion were not an important mixing mechanism for one-to-one viscosity ratio systems, it could be significant in systems with adverse viscosity ratios.
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