A technique for evaluating the oil/heavy-oil viscosity changes under ultrasound in a simulated porous medium

Hossein Hamidi, Erfan Mohammadian, Radzuan Junin, Roozbeh Rafati, Mohammad Manan, Amin Azdarpour, Mundzir Junid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Theoretically, Ultrasound method is an economical and environmentally friendly or “green” technology, which has been of interest for more than six decades for the purpose of enhancement of oil/heavy-oil production. However, in spite of many studies, questions about the effective mechanisms causing increase in oil recovery still existed. In addition, the majority of the mechanisms mentioned in the previous studies are theoretical or speculative. One of the changes that could be recognized in the fluid properties is viscosity reduction due to radiation of ultrasound waves. In this study, a technique was developed to investigate directly the effect of ultrasonic waves (different frequencies of 25, 40, 68 kHz and powers of 100, 250, 500 W) on viscosity changes of three types of oil (Paraffin oil, Synthetic oil, and Kerosene) and a Brine sample. The viscosity calculations in the smooth capillary tube were based on the mathematical models developed from the Poiseuille’s equation. The experiments were carried out for uncontrolled and controlled temperature conditions. It was observed that the viscosity of all the liquids was decreased under ultrasound in all the experiments. This reduction was more significant for uncontrolled temperature condition cases. However, the reduction in viscosity under ultrasound was higher for lighter liquids compare to heavier ones. Pressure difference was diminished by decreasing in the fluid viscosity in all the cases which increases fluid flow ability, which in turn aids to higher oil recovery in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. Higher ultrasound power showed higher liquid viscosity reduction in all the cases. Higher ultrasound frequency revealed higher and lower viscosity reduction for uncontrolled and controlled temperature condition experiments, respectively. In other words, the reduction in viscosity was inversely proportional to increasing the frequency in temperature controlled experiments. It was concluded that cavitation, heat generation, and viscosity reduction are three of the promising mechanisms causing increase in oil recovery under ultrasound.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • ultrasound
  • viscosity
  • smooth capillary tube
  • differential pressure
  • paraffin oil


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