In the Fall semesters, I teach a reservoir simulation course. More specifically Quantitative Reservoir Modeling EARTHSC 5751. Class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 12.45-2.45pm in the Kresge-Shell Computer Lab in 356 Mendenhall Lab. The full syllabus is available on Carmen.

In this course we study multiphase flow through porous subsurface media. First, we will briefly explore the main differential equations for transport (the continuity equation) and flow (Darcy’s law), which govern a multitude of interesting problems in Earth Sciences and in various Engineering disciplines. Different forms of the continuity equation describe pure advection (e.g., pollutant transport down a river, or heat advection in oceans or the atmosphere), convection-diffusion (e.g., the diffusive transport of pollutants in groundwater from high to low concentrations), or the full Navier-Stokes equation, which describes (viscous) flow of air around an airplane wing, the weather, and ocean currents. Darcy’s law describes flow in porous media, and with different variables becomes Ohm’s law for electrical conduction, Fick’s law for diffusion, or Fourier’s law for heat conduction.

The applications that we will focus on in this course are subsurface reservoirs, specifically, oil and gas reservoirs and (ground-/saline) water aquifers. The latter problems in hydrogeology can often be described by a convection-diffusion-(reaction) equation for a single-phase, e.g., the transport of a contaminant solute in an aqueous (water) phase, or the flow paths of dissolved CO2 in a carbon sequestration problem. Most problems in oil and gas reservoirs involve multiple phases, or multiphase flow. Examples are oil production by water flooding or gas injection. Up to four phase can commonly co-exist: a gas phase, an aqueous phase, and two different oil phases. Each phase will have different properties, such as viscosities, densities, and associated (Darcy) velocities.

Solving the flow and transport equations analytically, even for the simplest one dimensional, single- phase problems is surprisingly difficult. Few exact solutions exist for the simplest cases, and none for most problems of interest. The bulk of this course will therefore be devoted to the discussion of, and practice with, numerical methods to solve these equations. When we numerically solve the time-dependent transport and flow equations, the result is a numerical reservoir simulator.

To make this course attractive for students with different backgrounds, the set-up will not be a lecture series covering (hydrocarbon) reservoir engineering or groundwater problems in depth. In- stead, most of the time will be devoted to developing hand-on experience with developing numerical solutions/simulations (using Matlab) for the equations described above, which describe a wide range of interesting problems. The idea behind this approach is that these elementary programming skills will be useful for any student, regardless their future research/professional directions.
Having said that, the majority of applications will be related to hydrocarbon reservoirs, and the lectures will cover rock and fluid properties, relative permeability, capillarity, primary, secondary, tertiary (enhanced) oil (and gas) recovery processes, and other aspects of reservoir simulations.

In the Spring semesters, I teach the EARTHSC 2205 Planets course. Class meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays 12.45pm – 2.05pm in Orton Hall. Office hours are 10am – 11am on Monday. The full syllabus is available on Carmen. Below are some excerpts from the syllabus:

Course Description

In ES2205, we will explore our Solar System, study the origin and evolution of materials within it so that we may better understand our place in the Universe, the prospect of life elsewhere, and the destiny of humanity on Earth and in space. The work in this natural science course fosters students’ understanding of the principles, theories, and methods of modern science, the relationship between science and technology, the implications of scientific discoveries and the potential of science and technology to address problems of the contemporary world. Therefore, this course fulfills the requirements for the GEC, Category 2. Breadth; A. Natural Sciences: Physical Sciences

Throughout the semester, we will come across many interesting facts about the planets, the Universe at large, and the history and methods of scientific discovery. The objective of the course, however, is not to memorize, for example, the sizes, weights and distances of all the planets, but rather to 1) develop an intuition for comparative scales in both space and time, 2) get comfortable with working in different/appropriate units of length and time, 3) understand the basic concepts of orbital/rotational motions of objects in our solar system (and beyond), 4) develop an appreciation for the fundamental laws of physics that govern motion, energy, and light in order to 5) be able to interpret our observations of planetary geology, atmospheres, and other properties, made by past, current, and future spacecraft explorations and telescopes.

Course Materials
The Cosmic Perspective: The Solar System (6th or) 7th edition, Bennett, Danahue, Schneider, and Voit, Pearson Education Inc.

Relevant information will also be updated regularly on Carmen.