Vibration-induced mobilization of trapped non-aqueous phase liquids in porous media

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Li, Wenqing
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R. Dennis Vigil
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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Acoustic wave stimulation, such as vibration-induced mobilization, is a promising enhancement approach to remove trapped NAPLs (Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids) usually encountered in multiphase flows through porous media, especially the remediation of underground water contamination and incomplete petroleum recovery from oil reservoirs, with advantages of high efficiency, low cost and environmental safety relative to traditional mobilization methods;According to a simple hypothesized capillary-physics mechanism, specific predictions can be deduced that vibration will be the most effective in mobilizing trapped non-aqueous phase liquids with a comparative higher acceleration amplitude and lower vibration frequency;Quasi-two-dimensional glass micro-model experiments were carried out and it was shown that for fixed acceleration amplitude TCE (trichloroethylene), the trapped organic phase, was more quickly displaced as the vibration frequency decreased from 60 Hz to 10 Hz. And for fixed vibration frequency, TCE displacement became more and more efficient as the acceleration amplitude increased from 0.5 m/s2 to 5.0 m/s2;Moreover, numerical simulations were performed using FLUENT to investigate single droplet flow and the related stimulation effects of vibration. Implementing vibration was demonstrated to be more helpful and efficient to mobilize a trapped droplet in capillary tubes. For fixed acceleration amplitude, the efficiency increases as the vibration frequency decreases from 50 Hz to 10 Hz. For fixed vibration frequency, the average bulk flow rate increase and the time necessary to mobilize the trapped droplet decrease as the acceleration amplitude increase;In addition, analysis of droplet breakup in constricted capillary tubes driven by interfacial tension was performed. A criterion was derived to determine whether droplet breakup could be initiated in sinusoidally constricted tubes, and was further validated by simulations and published data. Droplet breakup was shown to be strongly dependent on the shape of the constriction, viscosity ratio, and interfacial tension, but not on density ratio;In all, the work together with the capillary physics mechanism can make it possible to understand the physics of the mobilization effect of low frequency vibration, which can then be applied to the predictions of the stimulation effect in the field after further full parameter space investigations are performed.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2006