Contact Angle Hysteresis 2016-10-25T11:54:43-06:00

Fundamentals of Fluid Flow in Porous Media


Chapter 2

Multi-phase Saturated Rock Properties:

Wettability: Contact Angle Hysteresis

According to the definition ‘hysteresis’ occurs when a measured variable depends on the direction of change of an independent variable.  Some factors that may contribute to contact angle hysteresis are as follows:

  • Surface roughness,
  • Solid surface heterogeneity and differential adsorption of wettability aerating compounds,
  • Surface immobility which prevents fluid motion that is necessary for the system to reach a three-phase contact point equilibrium. For example, a surfactant desorbing from the solid-liquid interface into the bulk liquid, and the solid film at the oil-water interface,
  • Contamination,
  • Components in different phases equilibrate among the phases. This can occur when surfactants have solubility in oil and water and adsorb at both interfaces.
  • The solid phase contains soluble components and/or when oil contains compounds that adsorb onto solids. The adsorption of oil components is slow and the contact angle changes over hours or months; systems that are initially water-wet may change to oil-wet.

Figure 2‑38 shows the significant effect of rock-fluid-fluid interactions on the contact angle measurement.

Rock-Fluid Interactions Effect on the Contact Angle
Figure 2-38: Rock-Fluid Interactions Effect on the Contact Angle




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