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3-D Visualization of Solvent Displacement Processes Using Laser Technology Open Access


Other title
3D visualization
Vapor Extraction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fang, Fang
Supervisor and department
Babadagli, Tayfun (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Li, Huazhou (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Kuru, Ergun (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Babadagli, Tayfun (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
A technique to visualize miscible displacement in porous media using laser and the analysis of the results for different processes are presented in this thesis. After saturating the model made of different sized glass beads with oil, solvent was introduced either under dynamic (injection and production through a pair of horizontal wells) or static (diffusion of solvent into oil saturated model) conditions. The former simulates the VAPEX (vapor extraction) process dictated by viscous and gravitational forces and the latter (“diffusion experiments”) represents diffusion/gravity (and thereby convection) controlled displacement of oil by the solvent contacting the porous medium saturated with oil. The refractive indices of saturated and injected fluids were made the same by mixing the fluids with lower and higher indices of refraction to make the model fully transparent. Fluorescent dyes that were only visible with excitation of laser were dissolved in the solvent. A laser sheet scanned the model while synchronous pictures were taken by two high speed cameras from two sides of the model. 2-D images obtained through this process were converted to 3-D visual data and qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted. An optimized injection method for the VAPEX process was determined by testing different -constant and variable- injection rates. The effect of solvent gravity and viscosity on the displacement (chamber growth) process was also analyzed through the 3-D images. Diffusion was the major factor in the transition zone at the edge of solvent chamber, as well as the solvent propagation from fracture to rock matrices. “Diffusion” experiments were done to analyze the sweep and smoothness of the front (diffusion) interface for different pore sizes, solvent/oil gravity and viscosity ratios, and the boundary effects. The box-counting fractal dimension of the solvent diffusion front in 3-D was applied to compare the progress of the solvent-oil interfaces (mixing process) for different conditions.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Fang, F. and Babadagli, T. (2014), "Three Dimensional Visualisation of Solvent Chamber Growth in Solvent Injection Processes: An Experimental Approach", International Petroleum Technology Conference,
, F. and Babadagli, T. (2014), "Diffusion and Dispersion Dominated Solvent Injection Processes in Oil Saturated Porous Media: 3-D Visualization Experiments Using Laser Technology", SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibitionhttps,

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