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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering >> 2022, Volume 16, Issue 7 doi: 10.1007/s11705-021-2095-1

The construction of pseudo-Janus silica/surfactant assembly and their application to stabilize Pickering emulsions and enhance oil recovery

Available online: 2021-10-29

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Nanoparticles with high surface energy and chemical activity have drawn substantial attention in petroleum industry. Recently, Janus nanoparticles exhibited tremendous potential in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) due to their asymmetric structures and properties. In this study, a series of amphiphilic pseudo-Janus@OTAB (PJ@C18) nanoparticles with different concentrations of stearyltrimethylammoium bromide (OTAB) were successfully fabricated. The structures and properties of PJ@C18 were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and ζ-potential measurements. Based on the emulsification experimental results, the interaction models and the self-assembly behavior between hydrophilic nanoparticles (SiO2@NH2) and OTAB molecules at the oil/water interface were proposed, which was further confirmed via the measurements of the contact angle and dynamic interfacial tension. Interestingly, it was found that the change of pH value from 7.5 to 4.0 caused the type reversal of the PJ@C18-1000 stabilized Pickering emulsions. Furthermore, the PJ@C18-1000 stabilized Pickering emulsion system with excellent salt and temperature tolerances (10000 mg∙L–1, 90 °C) significantly improved the oil recovery in the single-tube (more than 17%) and double-tube (more than 25%) sand pack model flooding tests. The findings of this study could help to better understand the construction mechanism of pseudo-Janus silica/surfactant assembly and the potential application of PJ@C18-1000 stabilized Pickering emulsions for EOR.

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