Crude Oil Extraction from Porous Rocks

To effectively extract crude oil deposits in porous rocks, it is necessary to characterize the liquid flowing through the rocks. The flow of fluid through porous media is very complicated. The flow of crude oil in rocks is limited by parameters such as connectivity and tortuosity. In addition, the fluid itself is also affected by the complex interactions between the fluid and the geometry of the pore structure and the surface.

Crude Oil Extraction from Porous Rocks

"Microfluidics" is a new method that is very suitable for extracting crude oil mixed with pollutants or in a dynamic state in porous rocks. These crude oils may require rapid changes in the extraction method.

Microfluidic Method to Measure Crude Oil

Asphaltene is the largest aromatic fraction in petroleum. The different content of asphaltenes is usually used as an indicator of the quality of oil wells. It is very important to be able to quickly and reliably determine the asphaltene content in crude oil.

The microfluidic device can measure the asphaltene content within 30 minutes, and the measured concentration range is 0.1% to 15%. There are many new analysis methods as follows:

Testing MethodKey ProcessApplication
Optical absorption technique. The addition of normal alkanes will result in the flocculation of asphaltenes and subsequent filtration to remove them from the crude oil. Then process the remaining maltose.Mixing, filtering and optical absorption are all done on the microfluidic chipDetermination of asphaltenes in crude oil
Multi-scale modeling. Use various surface types of porous media for pumping/fluid replacement based on pressure and temperature.Emulsify transport/replace oil with water at various temperatures and pressuresUse microfluidic technology to improve oil recovery
Produces asphaltene-free fractions that are soluble in hydrocarbons or methanol. It can be forwarded for further advanced analysis and used to determine the asphaltene content and Total Acid Number (TAN) value.Predictable fluid micromixing.Used to characterize the asphaltene and TAN value carboxylic acid content in crude oil

Testing Standard

  • ASTM D4124 - 09(2018) Standard Test Method for Separation of Asphalt into Four Fractions
  • ASTM D974 - 97 Standard Test Method for Acid and Base Number by Color-Indicator Titration
  • ASTM D6560 - 17 Standard Test Method for Determination of Asphaltenes (Heptane Insolubles) in Crude Petroleum and Petroleum Products

Our Microfluidic Devices for Research

The microfluidic chip can simulate the structure of porous rock and can monitor and visualize the fluid flow through the porous medium. Alfa Chemistry provides high-quality microfluidic chips for easy pumping, mixing, optical analysis, and modeling of fluid flow in porous rocks at a given temperature and pressure.

Crude Oil Extraction from Porous Rocks

Figure.1 (a) Schematic of the experimental microfluidics setup used for flooding experiments. (b) Lithographic mask of the heterogenous micromodel. Image of the micromodel after fabrication. (Gaol C. L, et al. 2020)

Our glass material chips can operate in a wide temperature range from -15 ℃ to 150 ℃ and pressures up to 30 bar (Customized equipment can reach 250ºC and 100 bar). They have excellent chemical resistance and can use a variety of solvents and chemicals. Please contact us for more information.


  • Gaol C. L, et al. (2020). "Real Structure Micromodels Based on Reservoir Rocks for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Applications." Lab Chip. 20: 2197-2208.

Our products and services are for research use only.

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