Evaluation of 3D printed microfluidic networks to study fluid flow in rocks
Department of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
2 Key Laboratory of Continental Shale Hydrocarbon Accumulation and Efficient Development, Ministry of Education, Northeast Petroleum University, 163318 Daqing, China
3 Department of Petroleum Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 12 May 2021
Visualizing fluid flow in porous media can provide a better understanding of transport phenomena at the pore scale. In this regard, transparent micromodels are suitable tools to investigate fluid flow in porous media. However, using glass as the primary material makes them inappropriate for predicting the natural behavior of rocks. Moreover, constructing these micromodels is time-consuming via conventional methods. Thus, an alternative approach can be to employ 3D printing technology to fabricate representative porous media. This study investigates fluid flow processes through a transparent microfluidic device based on a complex porous geometry (natural rock) using digital-light processing printing technology. Unlike previous studies, this one has focused on manufacturing repeatability. This micromodel, like a custom-built transparent cell, is capable of modeling single and multiphase transport phenomena. First, the tomographic data of a carbonate rock sample is segmented and 3D printed by a digital-light processing printer. Two miscible and immiscible tracer injection experiments are performed on the printed microfluidic media, while the experiments are verified with the same boundary conditions using a CFD simulator. The comparison of the results is based on Structural Similarity Index Measure (SSIM), where in both miscible and immiscible experiments, more than 80% SSIM is achieved. This confirms the reliability of printing methodology for manufacturing reusable microfluidic models as a promising and reliable tool for visual investigation of fluid flow in porous media. Ultimately, this study presents a novel comprehensive framework for manufacturing 2.5D realistic microfluidic devices (micromodels) from pore-scale rock images that are validated through CFD simulations.
© S.M. Mousavi et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2021
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