Acrylamide-based polymer gels have been applied to control the preferential flow in the subsurface for decades. However, some commonly used crosslinkers, such as Cr (III) and phenol-formaldehyde, are highly toxic and are being phased out because of stringent environmental regulations. This work uses l-lysine as the green crosslinker to produce acrylamide-based polymer gels. This article systematically studied the effect of lysine and polymer concentration, salinity, pH, and temperature on gelation behavior and thermal stability. Besides, the gelation mechanism and crosslinking density were elucidated in this work. A high-permeability sandstone core was used to test the plugging efficiency of this novel green gel system. This polyacrylamide/lysine system has a controllable gelation time. It can form gels at temperatures higher than 80 °C, with the gelation time from hours to days, and the elastic modulus of the gel can reach over 400 Pa. In addition, the crosslinked gels have been stable at 80 to 130 °C for over 200 days. This novel gel system could decrease rock permeability by over 1000 times. Besides, the Frrw is two times higher than the Frro, confirming that the current gel system can reduce the permeability to water more than that to oil. As a green gel system, this novel polymer gel system could replace the current toxic gel systems for the preferential fluid control for water management projects in oil and gas reservoirs, enhanced geothermal systems, and carbon capture and sequestration projects.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Second Department



Missouri University of Science and Technology, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

Amino Acid; Environmentally Friendly Crosslinker; Polymer Gels; Preferential Fluid Flow Control

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1944-8252; 1944-8244

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 American Chemical Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

25 Jan 2023

PubMed ID