Chemterra has utilized a new technique known as “Micro-Fluidics” where the pore structure and mixed wettability of shales can be synthesized on a microchip.
Conventional core flood experiments are not useful with nano-Darcy permeability shales. Alternate lab techniques have been employed to optimize stimulation fluids for hydraulic fracturing such as column drainage and Amott cell oil recovery.
Using Micro-Fluidics, regain permeability studies can be performed across the chip while using a microscope to visualize the fluid flow. Reservoir pressure and temperatures are also simulated on the chip without the need for large/expensive high-pressure equipment.
The key advantage of adding a visual aspect is to measure total fluid displacement, observe phase trapping, and measure contact angle of fluids real-time.