Oct 18 – ChE Seminar – “Squishy Bubble Dynamics In Porous Media” by Lisa Biswal, Rice University

October 18 @ 3:30 pm4:30 pm
CPE 2.218

Host: Keith Johnston


The use of foam in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) applications is being considered forLisa Biswal gas mobility control to ensure pore-trapped oil can be effectively displaced. In fractured reservoirs, gas tends to channel only through the highly permeability regions, bypassing the less permeable porous matrix, where most of the residual oil remains.  Because of the unique transport problems presented by the large permeability contrast between fractures and adjacent porous media, we aim to understand the mechanism by which foam transitions from the fracture to the matrix and how initially trapped oil can be displaced and ultimately recovered. My lab has generated micromodels, which are combined with high-speed imaging to visualize foam transport in models with permeability contrasts, fractures, and multiple phases.  The wettability of these surfaces can be altered to mimic the heterogeneous wettability found in reservoir systems.  We have shown how foam quality can be modulated by adjusting the ratio of gas flow ratio to aqueous flow rate in a flow focusing system and this foam quality influences sweep efficiency in heterogeneous porous media systems. I will discuss how this understanding has allowed us to design better chemical EOR processes.


Dr. Lisa Biswal is an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University in Houston, TX and leads the Soft Matter Engineering Laboratory.  Dr. Biswal’s research focuses on the fundamental understanding and application of soft matter systems.  Research examples include directed assembly of colloidal systems with magnetic fields, nanomaterials for lithium ion batteries, and the understanding and manipulation of microscale fluids for oil processes. She has a B.S in chemical engineering from Caltech (1999) and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University (2004).  She is the recipient of an ONR Young Investigator Award (2008), a National Science Foundation CAREER award (2009), the Southwest Texas Section AICHE Best Fundamental Paper Award (2014), Rice George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2015).

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