Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 11, 2013

Experimental Study of Surfactant Retention on Kaolinite Clay

Experimentelle Untersuchung der Tensidretention auf Kaolinit
Y. Wu, S. Iglauer, P. Shuler, Y. Tang and W. A. Goddard


We measured equilibrium surfactant retention on kaolinite clay for a large array of surfactants. We demonstrate that the mass balance measurements we used are a rapid way to screen surfactants in terms of their potential to be used in enhanced oil recovery applications. Surfactant classes investigated include: alkyl(aryl) sulfonates, ethylene oxide-propylene oxide copolymers, ethoxylated alkylphenols, alkyl polyglucosides, sorbitan ester ethoxylates, alkyl alcohol propoxylated sulfate sodium salts, gemini surfactants, sulfosuccinates and organo silicone-ethylene oxide-propylene oxide terpolymers. We identified several surfactants which had zero retention under the test conditions and which may therefore be suitable as enhanced oil recovery chemicals in surfactant flooding schemes. We discuss surfactant retention mechanisms on kaolinite clay and analyze surfactant structure-retention relationships for several surfactant classes.


Wir haben die Gleichgewichtsretentionen einer großen Anzahl von Tensiden auf Kaolintonerde gemessen und können zeigen, dass das Potential von Tensiden für die tertiäre Ölförderung effektiv mit Massenbilanzmessungen analysiert werden kann. Folgende Tensidklassen wurden getestet: Alkylarylsulfonate, Ethylenoxid-Propylenoxid-Copolymere, ethoxilierte Alkylphenole, Alkylpolyglucoside, Sorbitanesterethoxilate, Natriumsalze von alkylalkoholpropoxylierten Sulfaten, Geminitenside, Sulfosuccinate und Organosilikon-Ethylenoxid-Propylenoxid-Terpolymere. Wir haben mehrere Tenside identifiziert, die keine meßbare Retention aufweisen und die deswegen als Erdölförderchemikalien brauchbar sind. Wir diskutieren Tensidretentionsmechanismen auf Kaolintonerde und analysieren den Zusammenhang Tensidstruktur-Retentionsmenge mehrerer Tensidklassen.

Dr. Stefan Iglauer, Building 613 Technology Park, Department of Petroleum Engineering, Curtin University, Perth WA 6151, Australia. E-Mail:

Dr. Stefan Iglauer is a Senior Lecturer at Curtin University. His research interests include carbon dioxide sequestration, multi-phase flow in porous media, interfacial science, wettability studies, micro-computed tomography and enhanced oil recovery. Dr. Iglauer earned his chemistry degree from the University of Paderborn and received his PhD from the Oxford Brookes University.

Dr. Yongfu Wu is a Research Assistant Professor with the Petroleum Engineering Program at Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T). Dr. Wu's research interests include surfactants and interfacial phenomena such as adsorption, aggregation, dispersion, emulsion, foaming, spreading and wetting, as well as development of novel surfactants and formulations for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), remediation of aquifer and groundwater and other surfactant-related industrial applications. Currently his research focuses on the fundamental aspects of enhanced oil recovery by chemical technologies.

Dr. Patrick Shuler currently is on the research staff at the PEERI (Power, Environmental, and Energy Research Institute) located in Covina, CA. There he has been directing government and industry-sponsored research projects in chemical-based Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) for the past 9 years. Previous to joining PEERI he worked for over 22 years in Chevron Corporation's upstream R&D organization. While there he specialized in research in chemical EOR and in other aspects of oil and gas production chemistry. Dr. Shuler earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical engineering degrees from the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Colorado, respectively.

Dr. Yongchun Tang is currently the Director of the Power, Energy, and Environmental Research (PEER) Center in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Besides overseeing the operation of the PEER Center, with a staff of approximately 20 people, he has directed projects in several areas, including hydrocarbon generation and gas-to-liquids conversion. Dr. Tang also is an adjunct professor with Cornell University and the Cola Research and Geochemistry Institutes in the Chinese Academy of Science.

Prof. William A. Goddard III has been a member of the Faculty of the Chemistry Department at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) since November 1964, where he is now Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor in Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics. His research career has focused on developing methods to solve problems in catalysis, materials science, and pharma from first principles (no use of empirical data). He uses multiscale multiparadigm technologies to make first principles methods practical for critical problems in catalysis, nanotechnology, fuel cells, and pharma. Thus, his work bridges between fundamentals of physics and chemistry, new developments in computer science, and practical applications. Professor Goddard has published over 816 scientific articles. See


1. Wu, al.: Design and Optimization of Low-Cost Chemical Flooding, SPE/DOE 35355, proceedings of the Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, OK, 21–24th April 1996. Search in Google Scholar

2. Taber, J. J., Martin, F. D. and Seright, R. S.: EOR Screening Criteria Revisited – Part 2. Application and Impact of Oil Prices, SPE Reservoir Engineering, August 1996. Search in Google Scholar

3. Green, D. W. and Willhite, G.P.: Enhanced oil recovery, SPE Publications., 1998, ISBN: 978-1-55563-077-5. Search in Google Scholar

4. Reppert, T. al.: Second Ripley surfactant flood pilot test, SPE 20219, proceedings of the SPE/DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, OK, April 22–25, 1990. Search in Google Scholar

5. Lake, L. W.: Enhanced Oil Recovery, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1989. Search in Google Scholar

6. Somasundran, M. C., et al.: The Role of Surfactant Precipitation and Redissolution in the Adsorption of Sulfonate on Minerals, SPE 8263, SPE Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 1979. Search in Google Scholar

7. Hill, H. J. and Lake, L. W.: Cation Exchange in Chemical Flooding: Part 3 – Experimental, Soc. Pet. Eng. J.18 (1978) 445456. Search in Google Scholar

8. Nardello, V., Chailloux, N., Poprawski, J., Salager, J.-L. and Aubry, J.-M.: HLD concept as a tool for the characterization of cosmetic hydrocarbon oils, Polymer International52 (2003) 602609. 10.1002/pi.1012 Search in Google Scholar

9. Bourrel, M. and Schechter, R. S.: Microemulsions and Related Systems: Formulation, Solvency, and Physical Properties, New York: Marcel Dekker, 1988. Search in Google Scholar

10. Bourrel, M, Salager, J. L., Schechter, R. S. and Wade, W. H.: A correlation for phase behaviour of non-ionic surfactants, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science75 (1980) 2, 451461. 10.1016/0021-9797(80)90470-1 Search in Google Scholar

11. Goldburg, A., Price, H. and Paul, G. W.: Selection of Reservoirs Ameneable to Micellar Flooding, EngDOE/BC/00048 and 00051-29, August, 1985. Search in Google Scholar

12. Bourikas, K., Vakros, J., Kordulis, C. and Lycourghiotis, A.: Potentiometric mass titrations: experimental and theoretical establishment of a new technique for determining the point of zero charge (pzc) of metal(hydr)oxides, Journal of Physical Chemistry B107 (2003) 94419451. 10.1021/jp035123v Search in Google Scholar

13. Schroth, B. K. and Sposito, G.: Surface charge properties of kaolinite, Clays and Clay Minerals45 (1997) 1, 8591, 1997. 10.1346/CCMN.1997.0450110 Search in Google Scholar

14. Churchill, H., Teng, H. and Hazen, R. M.: Correlation of pH-dependent surface interaction forces to amino acid adsorption: implications for the origin of life, American Mineralogist89 (2004) 10481055. Search in Google Scholar

15. Zachara, J. M., Cowan, C. E., Schmidt, R. L. and Ainsworth, C. C.: Chromate Adsorption by Kaolinite, Clays and Clay Minerals, Vol. 36, No. 4 (1988) 317326. 10.1346/CCMN.1988.0360405 Search in Google Scholar

16. Reid, V. M., Longman, G. E. and Heinech, E.: Tenside, 4, 9, 292, 1967. Search in Google Scholar

17. Reid, V. M., Longman, G. E. and Heinech, E.: Tenside, 5, 3, 90, 1968. Search in Google Scholar

18. Lloyd, M. K. and Conley, R. F.: Clays Clay Miner. 18 (1970) 37. 10.1346/CCMN.1970.0180105 Search in Google Scholar

19. Grim, R. E.: Clay Mineralogy, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2nd Ed. p. 193, 1968. Search in Google Scholar

20. Conley, R. F. and Althoff, A. C.: Surface Acidity in Kaolinites, Journal of Colloid & Interface Science37 (1971) 1, 186195. 10.1016/0021-9797(71)90279-7 Search in Google Scholar

21. Swartzen-Allen, S. L. and Matijevic, E.: Chem. Rev.74 (1974) 3, 385. 10.1021/cr60289a004 Search in Google Scholar

22. Martin, R. T.: Proc. of the 9th Natl. Conf. On Clay and Clay Mineralogy, Pergamon Press, New York, p. 36, 1964. Search in Google Scholar

23. Hanna, H. S. and Somasundaran, P.: Equilibration of kaolinite in aqueous inorganic and surfactant solutions. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science70 (1979) 1, 181191. 10.1016/0021-9797(79)90022-5 Search in Google Scholar

24. Baviere, M., Bazin, B. and Mileo, J. C.: Physicochemical Properties of Sulfonated Fatty Acid Esters for Oil Recovery by Surfactant Flooding, Colloids and Surfaces52 (1991) 301313. 10.1016/0166-6622(91)80023-H Search in Google Scholar

25. Xu, G.-Y., Yuan, S.-L. and Wang, Y.-B.: J. Dispersion Sci. & Tech.22 (2001) 4, 355. 10.1081/DIS-100106940 Search in Google Scholar

26. Nevskaia, D. M. and Guerrero-Ruĩz, A.: Adsorption of Polyoxyethylenic Surfactants on Quartz, Kaolin, and Dolomite: a Correlation between Surfactant Structure and Solid Surface Nature, López-Gonález, J. D., Colloid & Interface Sci.181 (1996) 571. 10.1006/jcis.1996.0414 Search in Google Scholar

27. Scheutjens, J. M. H. M. and Fleer, G. J.: J. Phys. Chem.83 (1979) 1619. 10.1021/j100475a012 Search in Google Scholar

28. Lewis, S. J., Verkruyse, L. A. and Salter, S. J.: Selection of Nonionic Surfactants for Minimal Adsorption and Maximized Solubilization, SPE/DOE 14910, proceedings of the SPE/DOE Symposium on EOR, Tulsa, OK, April 20–23, 1986. Search in Google Scholar

29. Goddard, W. A., Tang, Y., Shuler, P. J., Blanco, M., Jang, S. S., Lin, S. T., Maiti, P., Wu, Y., Iglauer, S. and Zhang, X.: Lower Cost Methods for Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) via Surfactant Flooding, DOE Project DE-FC 26-01BC15362, Final Report, September 2004. Search in Google Scholar

30. Hill, K., von Rybinski, W. and Stoll, G. (Editors): Alkyl Polyglucosides, Weinheim: VCH, 1997, ISBN: 9783527294510. Search in Google Scholar

31. Iglauer, S., Wu, Y., Shuler, P. J., Tang, Y. and Goddard, W. A.: Alkyl Polyglycoside-alcohol cosolvent formulations for improved oil recovery, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects339 (2009) 4859. 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2009.01.015 Search in Google Scholar

32. Balzer, D. and Lüders, H.: Nonionic Surfactants, Alkyl Polyglycosides, Surfactant Science Series, 91, New York: Marcel Dekker, 2000. Search in Google Scholar

33. Kahlweit, M, Busse, G. and Faulhaber, B.: Preparing Microemulsions with Alkyl Monoglucosides and the Role of n-Alcohols, Langmuir11 (1995) 33823387. 10.1021/la00009a019 Search in Google Scholar

34. Kutschmann, E. M., Findenegg, G. H., Nickel, D. and von Rybinski, W.: Interfacial tension of alkylglucosides in different APG/oil/water systems, Colloid Polym. Sci.273 (1995) 565571. Search in Google Scholar

35. Nickel, D., Förster, T. and von Rybinski, W.: Physicochemical Properties of Alkyl Polyglycosides, in: Alkyl Polyglycosides (Editors: Hill, von Rybinski, Stoll), Weinheim: VCH, 1997. Search in Google Scholar

36. Wu, Y., Iglauer, S., Shuler, P. J., Tang, Y. and Goddard, W. A.: Alkylpolyglucoside surfactant – sorbitan ester cosurfactant formulations for improved oil recovery, Tenside, Surfactants, Detergents47 (2010) 5, 280287. Search in Google Scholar

37. Iglauer, S., Wu, Y., Shuler, P. J., Tang, Y. and Goddard, W. A.: Analysis of the influence of alkyl polyglycoside surfactant and cosolvent structure on interfacial tension in aqueous formulations versus n-octane, Tenside Surfactants Detergents, Vol. 47, Issue 2 (2010) 8797. Search in Google Scholar

38. Garst, R.: Alkyl Polyglycosides – New Solutions for Agricultural Applications, in: Alkyl Polyglycosides (Editors: Hill, von Rybinski, Stoll), Weinheim: VCH, 1997. Search in Google Scholar

39. Wu, Y., Iglauer, S., Shuler, P. J., Tang, Y. and Goddard, W. A.: Branched alkyl alcohol propoxylate sulfate surfactant-cosolvent formulations for improved oil recovery, Tenside Surfactants Detergents47 (2010) 3, 152161. Search in Google Scholar

40. Iglauer, S., Wu, Y., Shuler, P. J., Tang, Y. and Goddard, W. A.: New surfactant classes for enhanced oil recovery and their tertiary oil recovery potential, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering71 (2010) 12, 2329. 10.1016/j.petrol.2009.12.009 Search in Google Scholar

41. Momentive Performance Materials Inc.: Silwet surfactants, 2008. Search in Google Scholar

42. Holleman, A. F. and Wiberg, E.: Lehrbuch der Anorganischen Chemie, Gruyter, 1995. Search in Google Scholar

43. Gale, W. W. and Sandvik, E. I.: Tertiary surfactant flooding: petroleum sulfonate composition efficacy studies, SPEJ, 191199, August 1973. Search in Google Scholar

44. Novosad, J.: Surfactant retention in Berea sandstone – effects of phase behavior and temperature, SPEJ, 962970, December 1982. Search in Google Scholar

45. Pursley, S. A. and Graham, H. L.: Borregos surfactant pilot test, JPT, 695700, June 1975. Search in Google Scholar

46. Healy, R. N., Reed, R. L. and CarpenterJr., C. W.: A laboratory study of microemulsion flooding, SPEJ, 87103, February 1975. Search in Google Scholar

47. Barakat, Y., El-Mergawy, S. A., El-Zein, S. M. and Mead, A. I.: Adsorption of alkylbenzene sulfonates onto mineral surfaces, Indian Journal of Chemical Technology2 (1995) 3, 162166. Search in Google Scholar

48. Iglauer, S., Favretto, S., Spinosa, G., Schena, G. and Blunt, M. J.: X-ray tomography measurements of power-law cluster size distributions in sandstones, Physical Review E, Vol. 82, Issue 5 (2010) 056315. 10.1103/PhysRevE.82.056315 Search in Google Scholar

49. Adibhatla, B. and Mohanty, K. K.: Oil recovery from fractured carbonates by surfactant-aided gravity drainage: laboratory experiments and mechanistic simulations, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, 119130, February 2008. Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2010-11-14
Published Online: 2013-04-11
Published in Print: 2011-09-01

© 2011, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich