Applied Rheology: Publications
Mohammadreza Shafiei, Steve Bryant, Matthew Balhoff, Chun Huh, Roger T. Bonnecaze
Hydrogel Formulation for Sealing Cracked Wellbores for CO2 Storage

Appl. Rheol. 27:6 (2017) 64433 (8 pages)

Abstract: A challenge for underground CO2 storage is the leakage of the buoyant supercritical gas through microcracks in wellbores that cannot be sealed with current oilfield cements that are too viscous and cannot penetrate the cracks. Polymer gels consisting of pH-sensitive hydrogel particles suspended in an aqueous solution offer a potential alternative. The rheology of aqueous solutions of Carbopol 934 as a model pH-sensitive gel is measured to find the compositions and pHs for both ease of injection and to seal cracks against the flow of bulk CO2 and CO2 dissolved in brine. The polymer gels have low viscosity at low pH and can easily flow into the microcracks. In the elevated pH of the microcracks, the particles swell creating a significant yield stress sufficient to seal leakage pathways. The yield stress reaches a maximum at pH 5 and it increases with increasing concentration. The flow curves of stress versus shear rate for all pHs and concentrations are well-described by the Herschel-Bulkley model with an exponent of about 0.34 except for highly acidic conditions when the gelant solutions show a much lower yield stresses and higher exponents. The flow curves can be collapsed onto a single universal flow curve rescaled with the yield stress, the low frequency shear modulus and the suspending fluid viscosity. The presence of salts, especially high valence salts, reduce the yield stress of the gels considerably. It is shown that the addition of chelating agents mitigates this effect and can restore more than 30% of the yield stress of the gelant. © 2017 Applied Rheology.

DOI 10.3933/ApplRheol-27-64433

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