Preformed particle gel (PPG) is an appropriate solution for conformance control and water management in low permeability reservoirs. In this paper, the network parameters of PPGs are evaluated through swelling tests and rheology and by determining their role in maintaining structural strength. Several PPG hydrogels were prepared by varying the concentrations of polyacrylamide and chromium triacetate [Cr(OAc)3] as copolymer and crosslinker, respectively, using a central composite design. The characterization of these hydrogels was performed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), electron dispersion X-ray (EDX), and environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM). The correlation between reaction conditions and the network parameters of polymer networks, such as the molecular weight of the polymer chain between two neighboring crosslinks (Mc), the crosslink density, and the size fraction, have been determined. In addition, swelling of the hydrogels took place through the Fickian diffusion mechanism. Structural states of Laponite dispersions strongly depend on concentration and ionic strength. Based on the rheological tests, the dynamic modulus of the PPG was strongly dependent on the initial concentration and resulting network parameters of the hydrogel. The results showed an effective interaction between Mc and the elastic modulus of the gel network. Through the optimization of the network parameters, the appropriate composition was presented on the basis of the factors of strength (complex modulus of 4x104 Pa in the plateau region), the formation of a 3D network, and the preservation of the viscoelastic structure in the presence of Naþ, Ca2þ, and Mg2þ, at a salt sensitivity of 0.5. In addition, the optimum sample structure was confirmed on the basis of microscopic images. Based on the coreflooding data, the optimal PPG showed a disproportionate permeability reduction (DPR) index of 17.01 and indicated the dual performance of these materials against water and oil. Also, the permeability diagrams of the core showed wettability of the oil-wet core could shift to more water-wet after PPG injection. To summarize this research, we present the determination and analyses of the network parameters as a novel technique for predicting the performance of hydrogels in porous media, and for investigating their strength under harsh reservoir conditions. In other words, determination of the network parameters can be used to ensure the success of the gel performance in porous media.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology