Comparative study of using nanoparticles for enhanced oil recovery: Wettability alteration of carbonate rocks

Rasoul Nazari Moghaddam, Alireza Bahramian*, Zahra Fakhroueian, Ali Karimi, Sharareh Arya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Citations (Scopus)


Nanofluids have been recently proposed as new chemical agents for enhanced oil recovery from oil reservoirs. Various nanofluids have been studied in that regard and reported in the literature, verifying the capability of nanostructured materials in enhancing the oil recovery through alteration of rock wettability. In this study, the impacts of different nanofluids of zirconium dioxide (ZrO<inf>2</inf>), calcium carbonate (CaCO<inf>3</inf>), titanium dioxide (TiO<inf>2</inf>), silicon dioxide (SiO<inf>2</inf>), magnesium oxide (MgO), aluminum oxide (Al<inf>2</inf>O<inf>3</inf>), cerium oxide (CeO<inf>2</inf>), and carbon nanotube (CNT) on the wettability of carbonate rocks were investigated. A series of preliminary contact angle evaluations were performed to screen the nanoparticles. The performances of the selected nanofluids were evaluated by spontaneous imbibition and core flooding experiments. Results of spontaneous imbibition tests and coreflooding experiments confirm the active roles of CaCO<inf>3</inf> and SiO<inf>2</inf> nanoparticles for enhancing oil recovery. In addition, the effect of nanofluid injection on rock surface wettability was examined by drainage capillary pressure measurement. It is shown that the irreducible water saturation and the entry capillary pressure were both increased after treatment by CaCO<inf>3</inf> nanaofluid. Moreover, the structural disjoining pressure gradient is proposed to be the responsible mechanism for changing wettability. Both experiments and theoretical calculations prove that disjoining pressure of the nanoparticles layer near the contact point can be high enough to remove oil from the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2111-2119
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology


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