wettability | Energy Glossary

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1. n. []

The preference of a solid to contact one liquid or gas, known as the wetting phase, rather than another. The wetting phase will tend to spread on the solid surface and a porous solid will tend to imbibe the wetting phase, in both cases displacing the nonwetting phase. Rocks can be water-wet, oil-wet or intermediate-wet. The intermediate state between water-wet and oil-wet can be caused by a mixed-wet system, in which some surfaces or grains are water-wet and others are oil-wet, or a neutral-wet system, in which the surfaces are not strongly wet by either water or oil. Both water and oil wet most materials in preference to gas, but gas can wet sulfur, graphite and coal. Wettability affects relative permeability, electrical properties, nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation times and saturation profiles in the reservoir. The wetting state impacts waterflooding and aquifer encroachment into a reservoir. Reservoir wetting preference can be determined by measuring the contact angle of crude oil and formation water on silica or calcite crystals or by measuring the characteristics of core plugs in either an Amott imbibition test or a USBM test.

See: core plugdrainageimbibitionmagnetic resonancerelaxation time