Effect of nanoparticles on viscosity and interfacial tension of aqueous surfactant solutions at high salinity and high temperature
Journal of Surfactants and Detergents
John Wiley and Sons Inc.
School of Engineering
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
Surfactant flooding has widely been used as one of the chemically enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Surfactants majorly influence the interfacial tension, γ, between oil and brine phase and control capillary number and relative permeability behavior and, thus, influence ultimate recovery. Additives, such as nanoparticles, are known to affect surfactant properties and are regarded as promising EOR agents. However, their detailed interactions with surfactants are not well understood. Thus, in this work, we examined the influence of silica nanoparticles on the ability of surfactants to lower γ and to increase viscosity at various temperatures and salinities. Results show that the presence of nanoparticles decreased γ between n-decane and various surfactant formulations by up to 20%. It was found that γ of nanoparticles–surfactant solutions passed through a minimum at 35 °C when salt was added. Furthermore, the viscosity of cationic surfactant solutions increased at specific salt (1.5 wt.%) and nanoparticle (0.05 wt.%) concentrations. Results illustrate that selected nanoparticles–surfactant formulations appear very promising for EOR as they can lower brine/n-decane interfacial tension and act as viscosity modifiers of the injected fluids. © 2019 AOCS