An Investigation of Polymer Adsorption in Porous Media Using Pore Network Modelling

Shokoufeh Aghabozorgi*, Behzad Rostami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Polymer injection in hydrocarbon reservoirs has been of great interest in petroleum engineering as an enhanced oil recovery method. In order to have a reliable injection plan, an accurate estimation of polymer behaviour is required to control the fluid flow in porous media. However, it is difficult to calculate the flow properties of polymer solutions—known as non-Newtonian fluids—in porous media, due to variable viscosity at different shear rates. Adsorption of polymer molecules onto the rock surface decreases the available cross-sectional area of polymer solution, therefore at a constant rate, the shear rate increases. As a result, it is important to investigate how polymer adsorption can affect the polymer solution flow behaviour in porous media. Moreover, prior to any polymer injection plan, the amount of adsorbed polymer should be calculated, due to the high cost of polymers. In the present study, pore network modelling was used to investigate the effect of polymer adsorption on flow behaviour of polymer solutions in porous media. To achieve this goal, a simple pore was constructed to adequately represent the real structure of the porous medium. It was then validated by simulation of Newtonian fluid flow in the network and comparison of the calculated flow properties with the experimental data. After validation, the pore network was used for simulation of non-Newtonian fluid flow in porous media. The experimental apparent viscosity of non-Newtonian fluid was used for verification of the procedure and the developed network. The apparent viscosity of non-Newtonian was calculated successfully using macroscopic properties of the rock sample and measured bulk properties of non-Newtonian fluid. The effect of polymer adsorption on calculation of non-Newtonian fluid apparent viscosity was then investigated. It was shown that the polymer adsorption process plays an important role in calculation of polymer solution apparent viscosity. The results reveal that polymer adsorption cannot be neglected, especially in near well-bore areas where the adsorption is high. Finally, the effect of wettability in calculating the total amount of adsorbed polymer volume was studied. The results suggest that neglecting the rock’s wettability can result in an overestimation or underestimation of the amount of adsorbed polymer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-187
Number of pages19
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
Early online date6 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Apparent viscosity
  • Non-Newtonian fluid
  • Polymer adsorption
  • Pore network modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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