Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. Fluid and material resources beneath the Earth's surface underlie our everyday efforts in reliable energy provision and environmental conservation in the form of petroleum, CO2 storage, and critical mineral resources. Such subsurface systems, however, are porous and have incredible degrees of geometric and chemical complexity. These complexities, attributed to mineralogical heterogeneity, greatly impede our understanding of these subsurface systems and our ability to recover the resources that reside within these types of systems.
Our lab aims to understand and to develop methods that leverage our ability to recover the Earth's resources from the subsurface. In pursuit of this goal, we seek to address questions such as: how do fluids, in particular multicomponent, multiphase fluids behave at the fundamental microscopic pore-scale? How do reservoir fluids such as oil, water, or CO2 interact with the solid pore surfaces that surround them? How do mineralogical heterogeneities affect these interactions? And, how can we in turn leverage this basic understanding to develop ways that improve our ability to extract these resources?
We investigate these questions by combining experimental methods such as microfluidics and surface characterization, and theoretical approaches in geochemistry and reactive transport. The research conducted in our lab draws expertise from multiple disciplines, including fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, colloidal chemistry, geochemistry, and micro/nanoengineering. Below are a few highlights of topics that we are investigating currently. For more information, please contact us!