The immense nanotechnology advances in other industries provided opportunities to rapidly develop various applications of nanoparticles in the oil and gas industry. In particular, nanoparticle has shown its capability to improve the emulsion stability by generating so-called Pickering emulsion, which is expected to improve EOR processes with better conformance control. Recent studies showed a significant synergy between nanoparticles and very low concentration of surfactant, in generating highly stable emulsions. This study's focus is to exploit the synergy's benefit in employing such emulsions for improved mobility control, especially under high-salinity conditions.
Hydrophilic silica nanoparticles were employed to quantify the synergy of nanoparticle and surfactant in oil-in-brine emulsion formation. The nanoparticle and/or the selected surfactant in aqueous phase and decane were co-injected into a sandpack column to generate oil-in-brine emulsions. Four different surfactants (cationic, nonionic, zwitterionic, and anionic) were examined, and the emulsion stability was analyzed using microscope and rheometer.
Strong and stable emulsions were successfully generated in the combinations of either cationic or nonionic surfactant with nanoparticles, while the nanoparticles and the surfactant by themselves were unable to generate stable emulsions. The synergy was most significant with the cationic surfactant, while the anionic surfactant was least effective, indicating the electrostatic interactions with surfactant and liquid/liquid interface as a decisive factor. With the zwitterionic surfactant, the synergy effect was not as great as the cationic surfactant. The synergy was greater with the nonionic surfactant than the zwitterionic surfactant, implying that the surfactant adsorption at oil-brine interface can be increased by hydrogen bonding between surfactant and nanoparticle when the electrostatic repulsion is no longer effective.
In generating highly stable emulsions for improved control for adverse-mobility waterflooding in harsh-condition reservoirs, we show a procedure to find the optimum choice of surfactant and its concentration to effectively and efficiently generate the nanoparticle-stabilized emulsion exploiting their synergy. The findings in this study propose a way to maximize the beneficial use of nanoparticle-stabilized emulsions for EOR at minimum cost for nanoparticle and surfactant
Urea electrooxidation has attracted considerable interest as an alternative anodic reaction in the electrochemical generation of hydrogen due to both the lower electrochemical potential required to drive the reaction and also the possibility of eliminating a potentially harmful substance from wastewater during hydrogen fuel production. Nickel and nickel-containing oxides have shown activities comparable to those of precious-metal catalysts for the electrooxidation of urea in alkaline conditions. Herein, we investigate the use of nanostructured LaNiO3 perovskite supported on Vulcan carbon XC-72 as an electrocatalyst. This catalyst exhibits an exceptionally high mass activity of ca. 371 mA mgox–1 and specific activity of 2.25 A mg–1 cmox–2 for the electrooxidation of urea in 1 M KOH, demonstrating the potential applications of Ni-based perovskites for direct urea fuel cells and low-energy hydrogen production. While LaNiO3 is shown to be stable at low overpotentials, through in-depth mechanistic studies the catalyst surface was observed to restructure and there was apparent CO2 poisoning of the LaNiO3 upon extended cycling, a result that may be extended to other Ni-based systems.
Rapid reduction of aqueous ClO4– to Cl– by H2 has been realized by a heterogeneous Re(hoz)2–Pd/C catalyst integrating Re(O)(hoz)2Cl complex (hoz = oxazolinyl-phenolato bidentate ligand) and Pd nanoparticles on carbon support, but ClOx– intermediates formed during reactions with concentrated ClO4– promote irreversible Re complex decomposition and catalyst deactivation. The original catalyst design mimics the microbial ClO4– reductase, which integrates Mo(MGD)2 complex (MGD = molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide) for oxygen atom transfer (OAT). Perchlorate-reducing microorganisms employ a separate enzyme, chlorite dismutase, to prevent accumulation of the destructive ClO2– intermediate. The structural intricacy of MGD ligand and the two-enzyme mechanism for microbial ClO4– reduction inspired us to improve catalyst stability by rationally tuning Re ligand structure and adding a ClOx– scavenger. Two new Re complexes, Re(O)(htz)2Cl and Re(O)(hoz)(htz)Cl (htz = thiazolinyl-phenolato bidentate ligand), significantly mitigate Re complex decomposition by slightly lowering the OAT activity when immobilized in Pd/C. Further stability enhancement is then obtained by switching the nanoparticles from Pd to Rh, which exhibits high reactivity with ClOx– intermediates and thus prevents their deactivating reaction with the Re complex. Compared to Re(hoz)2–Pd/C, the new Re(hoz)(htz)–Rh/C catalyst exhibits similar ClO4– reduction activity but superior stability, evidenced by a decrease of Re leaching from 37% to 0.25% and stability of surface Re speciation following the treatment of a concentrated “challenge” solution containing 1000 ppm of ClO4–. This work demonstrates the pivotal roles of coordination chemistry control and tuning of individual catalyst components for achieving both high activity and stability in environmental catalyst applications.
The design, fabrication and calibration of a new thrust stand for conducting thrust andaeroacoustic measurements concurrently in a fully anechoic chamber is discussed. The new thrust stand employs the scale-force measurement technique and is designed to accommodate multi-stream nozzles (core and bypass flow streams). Each stream has a dedicated helium air mixture system thereby permitting a multitude of test conditions. The methodology for designing the thrust stand is described and uses a notch type flexure which demonstrates high repeatability over extended thrust ranges. Calibration is performed with elevated pressure inside the plenum to characterize the effect of increased pressure on the flexure performance. A further qualification of the thrust measurement accuracy is conducted using a small arsenal of nozzles comprising method of characteristics contours. Surveys of the far-field pressure are then conducted during various operating points along the startup curve of a Mach 1.71 rectangular supersonic nozzle.
Graphene has great potential for fabrication of ultrafast opto-electronics, in which relaxation and transport of photoexcited carriers determine device performance. Even though ultrafast carrier relaxation in graphene has been studied vigorously, transport properties of photoexcited carriers in graphene are largely unknown. In this work, we utilize an ultrafast grating imaging technique to measure lifetime (τr), diffusion coefficient (D), diffusion length (L) and mobility (μ) of photoexcited carriers in mono- and multi-layer graphene non-invasively. In monolayer graphene, D∼10,000 cm2/s and μ∼120,000 cm2/V have been observed, both of which decrease drastically in multilayer graphene, indicating that the remarkable transport properties in monolayer graphene originate from its unique Dirac-Cone energy structure. Mobilities of photoexcited carriers measured here are several times larger than the Hall and Field-Effect mobilities reported in literature (<15,000 cm2/V), due to the high energy of photoexcited carriers. Our results indicate the importance of obtaining monolayer graphene to realize high-performance graphene devices, as well as the necessity to use transport properties of photoexcited carriers for predicting the performance of graphene-based opto-electronics.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and is a recognized public health issue. Diagnosis of skin cancer involves biopsy of the suspicious lesion followed by histopathology. Biopsies, which involve excision of the lesion, are invasive, at times unnecessary, and are costly procedures ( $2.8B/year in the US). An unmet critical need exists to develop a non-invasive and inexpensive screening method that can eliminate the need for unnecessary biopsies. To address this need, our group has reported on the continued development of a multimodal spectroscopy (MMS) system towards the goal of a spectral biopsy of skin. Our approach combines Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy to collect comprehensive optical property information from suspicious skin lesions. We describe our present efforts to develop an updated MMS system composed of OEM components that will be smaller, less expensive, and more clinic-friendly than the previous system. Key system design choices include the selection of miniature spectrometers, a fiber-coupled broadband light source, a fiber coupled diode laser, and a revised optical probe. Selection of these components results in a 50% reduction in system footprint, resulting in a more clinic-friendly system. We also present preliminary characterization data from the updated MMS system, showing similar performance with our revised optical probe design. Finally, we present in vivo skin measurements taken with the updated MMS system. Future work includes the initiation of a clinical study (n = 250) of the MMS system to characterize its performance in identifying skin cancers.