Use of pH-Responsive Amphiphilic Systems as Displacement Fluids in Enhanced Oil Recovery
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Copyright © 2014 Society of Petroleum Engineers. We report a novel approach that is based on the complexation and supramolecular assembly of an amino-amide and maleic acid to control viscosity of aqueous displacement fluids. It is shown that the addition of only 2 wt% of adaptable amphiphile/maleic acid into water increases the viscosity of water by a factor of 4.5×105. This superior viscosity behavior is ascribed to the formation and entanglements of layered cylindrical supramolecular assemblies with diameters of several hundred nanometers. Furthermore, the viscosity of the amphiphile solution can be increased 12 times by changing pH from 4 to 8 in a reversible manner. Such a property can be very beneficial for oil-recovery applications when the injectivity becomes a limitation. In addition, the use of switchable viscosity can reduce the energy cost associated with pumping large volumes of viscous displacement fluids. We also demonstrate the proof of concept for the use of adaptable amphiphile solutions in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) as oil-displacement fluids through column experiments. Overall, this study shows that pH-switchable supramolecular assemblies have very intriguing properties that can significantly affect EOR technologies.
author list (cited authors)
Chen, I., Yegin, C., Zhang, M., & Akbulut, M.