Lab on a chip

Photopatterned oil-reservoir micromodels with tailored wetting properties.

PMID 26082065


Micromodels with a simplified porous network that represents geological porous media have been used as experimental test beds for multiphase flow studies in the petroleum industry. We present a new method to fabricate reservoir micromodels with heterogeneous wetting properties. Photopatterned, copolymerized microstructures were fabricated in a bottom-up manner. The use of rationally designed copolymers allowed us to tailor the wetting behavior (oleophilic/phobic) of the structures without requiring additional surface modifications. Using this approach, two separate techniques of constructing microstructures and tailoring their wetting behavior are combined in a simple, single-step ultraviolet lithography process. This microstructuring method is fast, economical, and versatile compared with previous fabrication methods used for multi-phase micromodel experiments. The wetting behaviors of the copolymerized microstructures were quantified and demonstrative oil/water immiscible displacement experiments were conducted.