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Capillary driven flow in nanochannels – Application to heavy oil rheology studies A Physicochemical and engineering aspects

Mozaffari, Saeed, Tchoukov, Plamen, Mozaffari, Ali, Atias, Jesus, Czarnecki, Jan, Nazemifard, Neda
Colloids and surfaces 2017 v.513 pp. 178-187
bitumen, contact angle, ethanol, methanol, models, oils, petroleum, prediction, rheology
Observations of capillary-driven flow of a liquid in a nanochannel can be used to study the liquid’s rheology. Capillary-driven flow of several pure liquids and bitumen diluted in Heptol (80:20) were studied using a nanofluidic chip. Filling speed of water was lower than the theoretical predictions, as expected. However, for methanol and ethanol, experimental values agreed well with theoretical predictions. 5 and 11wt.% bitumen solutions in heptol (80:20) followed the theoretical predictions quite well at the initial times but demonstrated deviation for longer penetration times. However, for 20 and 40wt.% diluted bitumen, experimental observations significantly deviated from the theoretical models. Those deviations were related to the continuous changes in the observed dynamic contact angle of the advancing meniscus. Nanochannel blockage has frequently occurred due to the presence of asphaltenes aggregates when 20wt.% diluted bitumen was used. Theoretical model for capillary filling of Bingham Plastic fluid was developed to probe the possible non-Newtonian behavior of diluted bitumen above the onset of asphaltenes precipitation. Given very small yield stress, it was difficult to precisely distinguish between Newtonian and non-Newtonian Bingham Plastic behavior. Nevertheless, our results show that Bingham Plastic model can describe the rheology of 5wt.% and 11wt.% bitumen at nanoscale more accurately than the Newtonian model. Our study shows nanochannels provide an experimental platform to analyze the flow of petroleum in the nanoporous media.