pH-responsive viscoelastic supramolecular viscosifiers based on dynamic complexation of zwitterionic octadecylamidopropyl betaine and triamine for hydraulic fracturing applications. Academic Article uri icon


  • Viscosity modifying agents are one of the most critical components of hydraulic fracturing fluids, ensuring the efficient transport and deposition of proppant into fissures. To improve the productivity index of hydraulic fracturing processes, better viscosifiers with a higher proppant carrying capacity and a lower potential of formation damage are needed. In this work, we report the development of a novel viscoelastic system relying on the complexation of zwitterionic octadecylamidopropyl betaine (OAPB) and diethylenetriamine (DTA) in water. At a concentration of 2 wt%, the zwitterionic complex fluid had a static viscosity of 9 to 200 poise, which could be reversibly adjusted by changing the suspension pH. The degree of pH-responsiveness ranged from 10 to 27 depending on the shear rate. At a given concentration and optimum pH value, the zwitterionic viscosifiers showed a two-orders-of-magnitude reduction in settling velocity of proppant compared to polyacrylamide solution (slickwater). By adjusting the pH between 4 and 8, the networked structure of the gel could be fully assembled and disassembled. The lack of macromolecular residues at the dissembled state can be beneficial for hydraulic fracturing application in avoiding the permeation damage issues encountered in polymer and linear-gel-based fracturing fluids. The reusability and the unnecessary permanent breakers are other important characteristics of these zwitterionic viscosifiers.

published proceedings

  • RSC Adv

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, S., Lin, Y., Bhat, B., Kuan, K., Kwon, J., & Akbulut, M.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Shuhao||Lin, Yu-Ting||Bhat, Bhargavi||Kuan, Kai-Yuan||Kwon, Joseph Sang-Ii||Akbulut, Mustafa

publication date

  • January 2021