Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Chemical and Biological Engineering

First Advisor

Richard D. Vigil

Second Advisor

Igor A. Beresnev


The dissertation develops further insight into the behavior of liquid-liquid flow in porous media. This topic is of great importance with applications in chemical reaction engineering, enhanced oil recovery, and environmental remediation. This work focuses on the experimental observation of invading immiscible drops, the long term behavior of their interface, and their entrapment via capillary pressure and mobilization through vibratory stimulation.

Using a simplified capillary physics mechanism several specific predictions can be made. So far these theories have generally agreed with CFD simulations, however a direct comparison to physical experiments is needed.

Experiments were conducted using single pore glass capillaries. Straight capillaries were used to study the film thickness left by an invading drop, which is critical for determining realistic initial conditions for the interface theory. A range of constricted capillaries were used in verifying the ``breakup criterion'' was influenced only by the geometric parameters of the capillary and not flow regimes. Additionally, the experiments and theory demonstrates qualitative agreement with respect to the evolution of the liquid-liquid interface. Finally, the theory of vibratory mobilization was verified by trapping single drops with a pressure below their mobilization threshold and observing the drop's mobilization over several oscillations.

The level of agreement between experiment, theory and CFD demonstrates the utility of the capillary physics mechanism in terms of reducing computational costs. The next goal is extending the theory to networks of pores so we can further our understanding of the oil mobilization and related processes, leading to useful technical applications.


Copyright Owner

William Gerard Gaul



File Format


File Size

105 pages

mobilization.wmv (5974 kB)