Stability of Silica Nanoparticle Dispersion in Brine Solution: An Experimental Study

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Department of Petroleum Engineering, Petroleum University of Technology, Ahwaz, Iran

Abstract

Nanotechnology has various applications in oil and gas industry such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The main challenge in using nanoparticles in EOR processes is their stability in harsh conditions such as high temperature, high pressure, and intermediate to high salinity. However, most of the recent experimental works have been performed under unrealistic conditions such as the use of distilled water as the injected fluid and room temperature. The main objective of this work is to study the effect of these factors on the stability of nanoparticle dispersions through several methods such as direct observation, optical absorption measurement, and nanoparticle effective diameter in different periods of time. The critical salt concentration (CSC) was determined for two kinds of monovalent electrolytes in various particle concentrations and temperatures. The results have shown that CSC for potassium chloride (KCl) is less than sodium chloride (NaCl) and it decreases as nanoparticle concentration and temperature increase. Moreover, the influence of two types of surfactants on the stability of silica dispersions was studied and the results revealed that an anionic surfactant increases the CSC, while a nonionic surfactant leads to the instability of dispersion even at low electrolyte concentrations.

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