Improving the microscopic sweep efficiency of water flooding using silica nanoparticles

Mehdi Zallaghi, Riyaz Kharrat, Abdolnabi Hashemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Fluid/fluid and fluid/rock interfaces have large influence on the microscopic sweep efficiency of an enhanced oil recovery process. Therefore, modification of these interfaces using nanoparticles to suitable conditions might lead to better recovery factors. Particularly, wettability alteration and interfacial tension reduction are the two key mechanisms which should be considered. This study was designed to address the capability of nanoparticles to be used as a chemical agent for enhanced oil recovery by several core flooding experiments. The injected chemical solution was prepared using synthetic brine containing %3 NaCl, silica nanoparticles, and SDS surfactant. Contact angle in rock/oil/solution system and interfacial tension between oil/solution were measured. In addition, SEM pictures and XRD analysis were taken to conduct a more thorough investigation of effect of nanoparticles on sandstone core plugs. Nanoparticles and surfactant mixture were flooded with various concentrations under different scenarios. The results show the incremental oil recovery of nanoparticles floods in sandstone core samples which ranged from 4.85 to 11.7%. Conversely, the enhanced oil recovery of high concentration of nanoparticle floods in cores was small. It is deduced that the mechanisms responsible for incremental oil recovery are mainly interfacial tension reduction and wettability alteration toward water-wet condition. However, the flooding results as well as experimental study of possible retention revealed that nanoparticles can be considered as an effective chemical agent in enhanced oil recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Core flooding
  • IFT
  • Nanoparticles
  • Oil recovery
  • Wettability

Cite this