A systematic investigation of the relationship between properties of bulk foam and foam in porous media

Abdulrauf R. Adebayo*, Suaibu O. Badmus, Sivabalan Sakthivel, Mohamed Gamal Rezk, Rahul S. Babu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bulk foam analysis (static test) is simple and fast, which makes it a cost-effective method for screening and ranking hundreds of surfactants being considered for foam applications. Coreflood tests (dynamic test) can also be used, but it is quite laborious and costly. However, previous reports show that ranking based on static tests sometimes differs from ranking based on dynamic tests. To date, the reason for such a discrepancy is not well understood. Some believe that it may be due to faulty experimental design while some others believe that there is no discrepancy if the right foam performance indices are used to describe and compare the results from both methods. For the first time, this study reports a systematic series of static tests conducted on different foaming solutions (with surfactant concentration ranging from 0.025 to 5 wt%) and duplicated in dynamic tests using the same core sample for all the surfactant solutions. The dynamic test was also repeated on three different rocks of a wide permeability range (26–5000 mD) for each of the surfactant solutions. Unlike previous studies, here multiple dynamic foam indices (limiting capillary pressure, apparent viscosity, trapped foam, and trapped to mobile foam ratio) were measured and compared with the performance indices measured from the static tests (foam texture and foam half-life). Dynamic tests were in total agreement with static tests for all the foam formulations. However, it was observed that the pore size of the base filter disk used in the static foam analyzer can be a potential source of conflicting results when comparing with dynamic test. This is because a threshold pore size exists above which some foam properties (apparent viscosity and trapped foam) significantly decreased compared to the properties before that threshold. Foam limiting capillary pressure is the only foam property that does not show such a trend. It also appears that such threshold occurs above a certain surfactant concentration (0.025 wt%). Apparently, it becomes imperative that the pore size of the filter disk used in the static test and the porous medium used in dynamic tests must be on the same side of the threshold point, otherwise there may be disparity in their results. The threshold surfactant concentration should also be determined. The role of these two factors (pore size and surfactant concentration) requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8058
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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© 2023, The Author(s).

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