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Electrokinetic Phenomena in Porous Media

  • David B. Pengra (a1) and Po-Zen Wong (a1)


Electrokinetic phenomena, such as electroosmosis (fluid-flow induced by applied electric fields) and streaming potential (the complementary process) are known to exist in brine-saturated porous media, but are very difficult to measure. With modern instrumentation and an ac method, we can now determine these transport coefficients accurately, and use them to characterize the permeability k 1, the effective throat radius Re , and the electric potential at the slip-plane, or ζ-potential. Our study shows that permeability can be determined by two different means: by combining the dc values of the streaming potential, electroosmotic pressure and conductivity; or from the frequency response of ac electroosmosis alone. The high sensitivity of the method allows us to measure k over the 0.1–10,000 millidarcy range with less than lOkPa applied pressure. This article reviews some of the basics of electrokinetics and describes our methods. We also discuss effects of brine salinity and possible effects due to the fractal nature of the pore surface.



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