The Underpinning Tools research theme at ICAM concerns the development of new tools and techniques in support of the other ICAM research areas. Examples include new imaging and characterisation techniques across a range of length and time scales, as well as improved modelling methodologies such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and process modelling.
This research is allowing many of the fundamental processes governing fluid flow through media, surface interactions and corrosion, to be easily visualised and understood in ways never possible before. The research is having a significant impact on a range of BP’s technology challenges, and ultimately has the potential to enhance BP’s understanding of their operations.
ICAM’s Underpinning Tools research is leading to the development of faster and higher resolution imaging techniques and models to enable a better understanding of:
- flow through membranes and rocks to support the development of more reliable models
- the structures and properties of materials across a range on length scales from the nanometre to micron
- imaging flow and surface phenomena in ‘real’ environmental conditions
- the behaviour of complex mixtures such as hydrocarbons
Oil and gas assets operate in challenging environments. Corrosion is a familiar issue, but understanding how it is caused and what can be done to prevent it is another matter. Thanks to cutting-edge new imaging tools being used at ICAM, scientists can now see what is happening at the molecular level, and even begin to design new materials that eliminate the problem altogether.