Characterization of nanoparticle transport in flow through permeable media




Metin, Cigdem

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An aqueous nanoparticle dispersion is a complex fluid whose mobility in porous media is controlled by four key factors: the conditions necessary for the stability of nanoparticle dispersions, the kinetics of nanoparticle aggregation in an unstable suspension, the rheology of stable or unstable suspensions, and the interactions between the nanoparticles and oil/water interface and mineral surfaces. The challenges in controlling nanoparticle transport come from the variations of pH and ionic strength of brine, the presence of stationary and mobile phases (minerals, oil, water and gas), the geochemical complexity of reservoir rocks, and pore-network. The overall objective of this work is to achieve a better understanding of nanoparticle transport in porous media based on a systematic experimental and theoretical study of above factors. For this purpose, the critical conditions for the aqueous stability of nanoparticles are identified and fit by a theoretical model, which describes the interaction energy between silica nanoparticles. Above critical conditions nanoparticle aggregation becomes significant. A model for the aggregation kinetics is developed and validated by experiments. A mechanistic model for predicting the viscosity of stable and unstable silica nanoparticle dispersions over a wide range of solid volume fraction is developed. This model is based on the concept of effective maximum packing fraction. Adsorption experiments with silica nanoparticles onto quartz, calcite and clay surfaces and interfacial tension measurements provide insightful information on the interaction of the nanoparticles with minerals and decane/water interface. The extent of nanoparticle adsorption on mineral/water and decane/water interfaces is evaluated based on DLVO theory and Gibbs’ equation. Visual observations and analytical methods are used to understand the interaction of nanoparticles with clay. The characterization of nanoparticle behavior in bulk phases is built into an understanding of nanoparticle transport in porous media. In particular, the rheology of nanoparticle dispersions flowing through permeable media is compared with those determined using a rheometer. In the presence of residual oil, the retention of silica nanoparticles at water/oil interface during steady flow is investigated. The results from batch experiments of nanoparticle adsorption are used to explain the flow behavior of these nanoparticles in a glass bead pack at residual oil saturation.



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