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Foam Improved Oil Recovery

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Grassia
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project under the supervision of Dr Paul Grassia ( will examine how to use foams to extract oil from depleted oil reservoirs.

Owing to the special flow properties of foam compared to those of conventional liquids and gases, injecting foam into oil reservoirs is known to be an excellent way to extract the oil still in place. The foam is driven through the oil reservoir under the action of an imposed pressure. A foam front then develops with a bank of liquid ahead and a bank of gas behind, and this front sweeps through the reservoir pushing along the oil. Motion of the foam and of the liquid and gas banks either side of it is resisted by dissipative forces. The resistance however tends to be highest at the foam front. In an idealised case, all the resistance is considered to be concentrated at the foam front: this then constitutes a model termed `pressure-driven growth’, which can be used to compute how the foam front advances through the reservoir.

This project will compare and contrast the pressure-driven growth model with curvature-driven (grain) growth and viscous froth models familiar from the literature. Computations with the pressure-driven growth case are likely to be far more challenging than the analogous curvature-driven and/or viscous froth models, because it lacks any surface-tension effects, which ordinarily keep the foam fronts smooth.

Thus potentially very complex foam front shapes can arise, and the implications for determining reservoir sweep efficiencies will be investigated via modelling and simulation studies. Additional complications are likely to arise from heterogeneity and anisotropy of the oil reservoirs, and these effects will also be explored.

The project will suit a student with a background in chemical engineering or a cognate discipline (e.g. physics, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering). Applicants should already have or be expecting shortly to obtain a first class or upper second class degree in one of the above mentioned disciplines. Candidates trained to masters level are preferred, but exceptional candidates trained to bachelors level can also be considered.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

In order to apply you will need to provide:

* a copy of your c.v.,

* a statement of your current and future research interests,

* a copy of your degree certificates and academic transcripts, and

* two academic reference letters.

Applications can be considered up to 15th September 2016, but those received before 15th April 2016 will be given priority.

Funding Notes

Funding is available for suitably qualified students.
UK/EU candidates are preferred, but we are also able to consider exceptional international students.


[1] P. Grassia, E. Mas-Hernandez, N. Shokri, S. J. Cox, G. Mishuris, and W. R. Rossen. Analysis of a model for foam improved oil recovery. J. Fluid Mech., 751:346--405, 2014

[2] E. Mas-Hernandez, P. Grassia, and N. Shokri. Foam improved oil
recovery: Foam front displacement in the presence of slumping. Colloids and Surf. A, Physicochem. and Engg Aspects, 473:123--132, 2015

[3] E. Mas-Hernandez, P. Grassia, and N. Shokri. Foam improved oil
recovery: Modelling the effect of an increase in injection pressure. Eur. Phys. J. E, 38:67, 2015

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 67.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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