Several researchers have recently studied the phase behavior of petroleum fluids in shale systems. There is a general agreement that the confined PVT properties in shale are substantially different from the corresponding bulk properties. These differences have significant impact on the prediction of well performance and ultimate recovery in shale reservoirs. Experimental measurements of fluid properties in shale rocks are currently not available. This has led to significant amount of uncertainty in phase behavior calculations for shale reservoirs.
In this study, experimental validation of numerical predictions for phase behavior of various hydrocarbons confined in nanochannels was performed using a nanofluidics platform. The nanofluidics platform was designed, fabricated and tested at different temperatures. Design of the nanochannel is described in this paper.
In this study, a nanochannel device (similar to Duan and Majumdar 2010) was designed, fabricated, packaged and tested. The reservoirs in the nanofluidic chip were filled with various hydrocarbon liquids (e.g. n-decane). The temperature was varied at a constant pressure, during which epifluorescence imaging was performed to measure the bubble nucleation temperature, i.e., the temperature corresponding to the formation of the first bubble of gas (i.e., to determine bubble-point pressure and temperature relationship).