Stability of polyvinyl alcohol-coated biochar nanoparticles in brine


C. Griffith and Daigle, H., “Stability of polyvinyl alcohol-coated biochar nanoparticles in brine,” Journal of Nanoparticle Research, vol. 19, no. 23, pp. 1-12, 2017.


This paper reports on the dispersion stability of 150 nm polyvinyl alcohol coated biochar nanoparticles in brine water. Biochar is a renewable, carbon based material that is of significant interest for enhanced oil recovery operations primarily due to its wide ranging surface properties, low cost of synthesis, and low environmental toxicity. Nanoparticles used as stabilizing agents for foams (and emulsions) or in nanofluids have emerged as potential alternatives to surfactants for subsurface applications due to their improved stability at reservoir conditions. If, however, the particles are not properly designed, they are susceptible to aggregation because of the high salinity brines typical of oil and gas reservoirs. Attachment of polymers to the nanoparticle surface, through covalent bonds, provides steric stabilization, and is a necessary step. Our results show that as the graft density of polyvinyl alcohol increases, so too does the stability of nanoparticles in brine solutions. A maximum of 34 wt% of 50,000 Da polyvinyl alcohol was grafted to the particle surface, and the size of the particles was reduced from ~3500 nm (no coating) to 350 nm in brine. After 24 h, the particles had a size of ~500 nm, and after 48 h completely aggregated. 100,000 Da PVA coated at 24 wt% on the biochar particles were stable in brine for over 1 month with no change in mean particle size of ~330 nm.


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