The American Chemical Society has recognized the collaborative work of PI Dr. Jeffery White and co-PI Dr. Clint Aichele, faculty in the Chemical Engineering Department, by awarding them an American Chemical Society “New Directions” grant in the amount of $110,000 for two years.
The project, entitled Self-Diffusion and Interactions of Multicomponent Fluids in Model Reservoir Solids combines Dr. White’s expertise in advanced magnetic resonance methods and heterogeneous
solids with Dr. Aichele’s knowledge of emulsions and colloids. Together, they will
work on a new research direction in which pulsed-field gradient diffusion NMR methods
will be developed to investigate how multicomponent fluids, e.g., water and hydrocarbons,
percolate through complex solids whose pores and channels are in the nanometer dimensional
scale. Interactions between fluids and solid surfaces are paramount to understanding
how water, suspended solids, and hydrocarbons move in subterranean environments.
Diffusion NMR’s ability to determine diffusion coefficients of the individual components
in a mixture confined to nanoporous hosts, and at pressures approximating those encountered
in geological strata, is unique. Using recently acquired equipment that allows diffusion
NMR data collection at pressures up to 15,000 psi, White and Aichele hope to design
experiments that reveal how diffusion and surface interactions depend on the chemical
substituents present at or near the solid host surface, as well as the pore geometry.
This international competitive grant program receives applications from researchers in both the U.S. and Canada.