Surfactant-based fluids, SB fluids exhibit complex rheological behavior due to substantial structural change caused by the molecules self-assembled colloidal aggregation. Various factors affect their rheological properties. Among these factors, surfactant concentration, shear rate, temperature, and salinity are investigated. One of the most popular surfactants, Aromox® APA-T viscoelastic surfactant (VES) is examined. The study focuses on four different concentrations (1.5%, 2%, 3%, and 4%) over a shear rate ranging from 0.0526 sec−1 to 1944 sec−1 using Bohlin rheometer. For salinity effects, two brine solutions are used; 2 and 4% KCl while for temperature effects, a wide range from ambient temperature of 72°F up to 200°F is covered. The results show that SB fluids exhibit a complex rheological behavior due to its unique nature and the various structures form in the solution. In general, SB fluids at all concentrations exhibit a non-Newtonian pseudo-plastic shear thinning behavior. As the surfactant concentration and/or shear increases, a stronger shear thinning behavior can be seen. Increasing solution salinity promotes formation of rod-like micelles and increases its flexibility. Salinity affects micelles’ growth and their rheological behavior is very sensitive to the nature and structure of the added salt. Different molecular structures are formed; spherical micelles occur first and then increased shear rate and/or salinity promotes the formation of rod-like micelles. Later, rod-like micelles are aligned in the flow direction and form a large super ordered structure of micellar bundles or aggregates called shear induced structure (SIS). Different structures implies different rheological properties. Likewise, rheology improves with increasing temperature up to 100°F. Further increase in temperature reverses the effects and viscosity decreases. However, the effects of temperature and salinity diminish at higher shear rates. Furthermore, a rheology master curve is developed to further understand the rheological behavior of SB fluids and correlate rheological properties to its microscopic structure.
Rheological Characteristics of Surfactant-Based Fluids: A Comprehensive Study
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Kamel, AH. "Rheological Characteristics of Surfactant-Based Fluids: A Comprehensive Study." Proceedings of the ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 7: Fluids Engineering. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. November 9–15, 2018. V007T09A034. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2018-86044
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