Study on the Relationship between Emulsion Stability and Droplet Dynamics of a Spontaneous Emulsion for Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery


Spontaneous emulsion (SE) has attracted increasing attention, especially in the development of low-permeability reservoirs (with an average throat radius of 0.1-2 µm) for enhanced oil recovery. In this work, based on multiple light scattering principles, the relationship between emulsion stability and the droplet dynamics of SEs was investigated. The results showed that the synergistic effect of surfactant and polymer was crucial for oil emulsification in brine, since the stability of the emulsion was greatly improved. The emulsion stability and droplet dynamics depend on the temperature, concentration, and type of emulsifier. The optimal combination system had the lowest Turbiscan stability index value, and the emulsion stability time was more than 2000s. The average droplet size was 1.50 µm, and the droplet migration rate was 7.21 mm/h. The stability of the emulsion was resulted from the microscopic droplet dynamics. By reducing the migration rate of the droplets, stability of the emulsion can be obtained. Finally, the stability and droplet dynamics mechanism of the system were explained by using a schematic representation of the various equilibriums in the spontaneous emulsification flooding system.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


This work is financially supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project (2017ZX05009-004), the Science Foundation of China University of Petroleum, Beijing (No. 2462015YJRC033), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51774309), and Science Foundation of China University of Petroleum-Beijing at Karamay (No. RCY2017A-01-001).

Keywords and Phrases

Droplet dynamics; low-permeability reservoirs; multiple light scattering; spontaneous emulsion; stability

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0193-2691; 1532-2351

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Aug 2018