High temperature stability and low adsorption of sub-100 nm magnetite nanoparticles grafted with sulfonated copolymers on Berea sandstone in high salinity brine

by Iqbal, M; Lyon, BA; Urena-Benavides, EE; Moaseri, E; Fei, YP; McFadden, C; Javier, KJ; Ellison, CJ; Pennell, KD; Johnston, KP

JOURNAL OF COLLOIDS AND SURFACES A-PHYSICOCHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING ASPECTS; May 5 2017; Volume: 520; Pages: 257-267; DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2017.01.080

The synthesis of polymer grafted nanoparticles that are stable at high salinities and high temperature with low retention in porous media is of paramount importance for subsurface applications including electromagnetic imaging, enhanced oil recovery and environmental remediation. Herein, we present an improved approach to synthesize and purify sub-100 nm IONPs grafted with a random copolymer poly (AMPS-co-AA) (poly(2-acrylamido-3-methylpropanesulfonate-co-acrylic acid)) by means of catalyzed amide bond formation at room temperature. The improved and uniform polymer grafting of magnetic nanoparticles led to colloidal stability of IONPs at high temperature (120 degrees C) in API for a month. The transport behavior of the polymer grafted IONPs was investigated in crushed and in consolidated Berea sandstone. The high poly(AMPS-co-AA) polymer level on the surface (similar to 34%) provided electrosteric stabilization between the NPs and weak interactions of the NPs with anionic silica and sandstone surfaces. This behavior was enabled by low affinity of Ca2+ towards the highly acidic AMPS monomers thus enabling strong solvation in API brine. In crushed Berea sandstone, the retention was reduced by three fold and nine fold relative to our earlier studies, given the improvements in the grafted polymer layer. For intact core flood experiments in Berea sandstone carried out at elevated temperature (65 degrees C) and pressure (1000 psi net confining stress), the retention was 519 mu g/g, comparable to the value for crushed Berea sandstone. Furthermore, the addition of a relatively small amount (0.1% v/v) of commercially available sacrificial polymer (e.g., HEC-10) further reduced IONP retention to 252 gig or 0.17 mg/m(2) by blocking retentive sites.

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