Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar: Dr. Shannon L. Eichmann


Monday, March 31, 2014


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.208


Dr. Shannon Eichmann, Aramco Services Company, will give a talk entitled " Nanoparticle Mobility and Interactions in Confined Spaces" as part of the Claude R. Hocott Graduate Seminar Series.


Dr. Shannon L. Eichmann received her Ph.D. from in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 where her research focused on imaging colloids and nanoparticle in confined spaces and measuring particle-surface interactions using total internal reflection and video microscopy techniques. She continued imaging nano-sized materials during her postdoctoral work in the Chemical Engineering department at Rice University where studied the mobility and passage of carbon nanotubes through porous media. Currently, Dr. Eichmann works for Aramco Services Company in the newly opened Aramco Research Center located in Cambridge, MA.


Due to the recent advances in nanotechnology there has been increased interest in using nano-sized particles for a number of applications in from biology to the oil industry. Specifically, the oil industry is interested in using these materials for applications such as oil detection, in-situ upgrading of heavy oil and enhanced oil recovery. One key challenge we must first address to demonstrate the application of these materials is to show their mobility within and passage through sub-micron pores and rock-like materials. Traditionally, the efficacy of new materials for these applications is tested by core flood trials where the percentage of recovered oil and recovered nanoparticle concentration is measured as a function of a number of variables (i.e. nanoparticle size, material properties, solution conditions, etc.). These tests give invaluable information about the feasibility of nanoparticles for reservoir applications but lack direct observation of nanoparticle mobility and interactions in small pore spaces. This presentation focuses on the use of optical microscopy to image nanoparticles in confinement and rock-like porous media. By directly imaging nanoparticles as they move in these environments, we are able to track their mobility and passage through small tortuous pores similar to those in the oil reservoir and examine the effects of confinement on 2D diffusion. Results are presented that use video microscopy techniques to track gold nanoparticles and multi-walled carbon nanotubes in confined spaces and directly show single-walled carbon nanotube mobility through rock-like sub-micron sized pores.