In this study, a new approach for detailed tracking of the interface between well fluid and cement by using particles is investigated. This can improve the quality of annular cementing of CO2 wells and thus the storage safety. For this purpose, the displacement mechanisms of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids in the annulus of vertical and inclined wells is investigated by using an experimental set-up with an eccentric annular geometry and by finite element analysis of an equivalent model with COMSOL Multiphysics solver. For more efficient displacement, the displacing fluid has a higher density than the displaced fluid, and the intermediate-buoyancy particles that reside at the interface between successive fluids are introduced into the models. Such particles must overcome strong secondary flows in order to travel with the interface.
Particle motions are investigated in different experimental and numerical models, and their effectiveness is investigated. The experimental results confirm that while the particles with a size of 425–500 um are unable to overcome the secondary flows in eccentric vertical models and track the interface, they can be useful for tracking the interface between two fluids in an eccentric model with a small inclination to the narrow side. CFD analysis investigates this behavior with more details and shows the effects of some parameters on the particle motions.