A Modified Spinning Drop Method for High-Temperature Applications
- Lyman L. Handy (University of Southern California) | Mokhtar El-Gassier (University of Southern California) | Iraj Ershaghi (University of Southern California)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- February 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 155 - 156
- 1983. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.9.2 Geothermal Resources, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex)
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The spinning drop apparatus has been modified to measure interfacialtensions (IFT) at elevated pressures and temperatures. Interfacial tensionproperties of various surfactant solutions against a mineral oil and aCalifornia crude oil have been measured at elevated temperatures with thisequipment. The surfactants included TRS 10-80, Igepal DM-730 and Petrostep 465.The IFT of Igepal DM-730 against the crude oil shows a minimum at a temperatureof 95°C and at a surfactant concentration of 5 g/l in a 10 g/l NaCl solution.With the same crude oil, Petrostep 465 shows no temperature effect and theminimum IFT is obtained at a surfactant concentration of 2 g/l and a NaClconcentration of 10 g/l. The TRS 10-80 shows a somewhat similar behavior withrespect to temperature, but the minimum IFT's and the corresponding salt andsurfactanat concentrations to obtain them are different.
The application of surfactant systems at elevated temperature has been thesubject of several studies. Handy et al. described various aspects of usingsurfactants as additives in steamflooding.1 In this application, theinterfacial tension properties of surfactant-crude oil systems must beevaluated at elevated temperatures. Furthermore, data on the temperaturedependence of the IFT of surfactants versus crude oil will be pertinent tocareful design of chemical floods for reservoir temperatures above 100°C.
Two methods for measuring IFT properties of surfactant-oil systems have beendescribed in the literature, the pendent drop and the spinning drop methods.The pendent drop method, developed by Andreas, Hauser, andTucker2,has been modified for high pressure application byHarvey3 and for high temperature and pressure byJennings4. Systems studied by these modified instruments have beenin IFT ranges significantly above the ultra-low IFT's required for improvingoil displacement with surfactants. The spinning drop method discussed byVannegut5, Silberberg6, Rosenthal7, Princen etal.8 was recently developed by Caylas et al.9 Theproposed design included the capability for variable speed tensiometry. Gashand Parrish10 introduced a fixed speed spinning drop tensiometer andreported satisfactory results at a speed of 3600 RPM. No work has yet beenreported on the extension of the design of the spinning drop method for use athigh temperatures.
In this study, problems associated with high temperature application of thespinning drop method were considered. The equipment was modified to extend theoperation of a fixed speed system to temperatures up to 250°C. The modifiedequipment was used to study the IFT behavior of three surfactants versus acrude oil and one surfactant versus a mineral oil.
A constant speed (3600 RPM) spinning drop apparatus was modified for hightemperature application by addition of a temperature air bath and thedevelopment of a technique for sealing the fluids within the capillary tubes towithstand high temperatures and pressures. As shown in Fig. 1, the capillarytubes operate within the air bath (A) made of a 3/4" thick Marinite mix (anasbestos-free insulator) with a capability of maintaining the temperature ashigh as 600°C (~1100°F). Vanes (B) placed inside the air bath were intended tomaintain uniform temperature throughout the system. Temperature was measuredbeside the capillary tubes (E) using J type thermocouples (F) and read on adigital recorder (G).
The fluid content within the capillaries must be contained at hightemperatures and pressures. The open end of the capillary tubes were sealedwith a high temperature epoxy, Fig. 2. The epoxy hardens quickly and is capableof withstanding pressures up to 5.9 MPa. The epoxy seal can easily be drilledout to permit the re-use of the tubes.
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