Fundamental Study of Polymer Flow and Degradation in Injection Chokes
Polymers are useful during EOR because of their high viscosity, caused largely by the long chains of the molecules.
When polymers flow under a large amount of shear, mechanical degradation can occur, breaking the bonds, reducing the molecular weight, and therefore reducing the viscosity. The goal of this study is to perform computational fluid dynamics modeling in injection choke valves to measure the amount of simple and extensional shear on the polymers at field conditions. Additionally, small-scale experiments are conducted to measure the change in molecular weight and viscosity when the same amount of shear is imposed on the polymer. The findings will result in a new understanding of the effects of shear degradation and optimal field conditions for injection.
MS student: Rebecca Leonard
Undergraduate researcher: James Patterson
Undergraduate researcher: Jerry Moma