Mobility of Sub-50 nm Iron Oxide Nanoparticles with Ultrahigh Initial Magnetic Susceptibility in Intact Berea Sandstone at High Salinity

Chola Bhargava Dandamudi, Muhammad Iqbal, Bonnie A. Lyon-Marion, Jae Jin Lisa Han, Yunping Fei, Joohyung Lee, Christopher J. Ellison, Kurt D. Pennell, Keith P. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), which have been investigated extensively as contrast-enhancing agents in biology, are being explored for subsurface applications such as electromagnetic tomography, fracture mapping, and enhanced oil recovery. However, two key challenges must be addressed: (a) high magnetic susceptibility and (b) colloidal stability and mobility under harsh reservoir conditions of high salinity and temperature. Herein, we synthesize IONPs grafted with poly(2-acrylamido-3-propanesulfonate-co-acrylic acid) poly(AMPS-co-AA) to achieve a high surface grafting density of polymer (49%) with minimal aggregation to yield sub-50 nm IONPs. The IONPs were found to be colloidally stable at 120 °C for a period of one month at pH 8. In crushed Berea sandstone, polymer-grafted IONPs exhibited significantly high mass breakthrough (84%) and low retention (149 μg/g) when used with a sacrificial polymer preflood (0.1% v/v). Intact Berea core experiments showed an 8-fold improvement in mass breakthrough (65%) and a two-thirds reduction in retention (from 433 μg/g to 160 μg/g) when compared to previous studies with IONPs synthesized via coprecipitation. The high grafting density of polymeric stabilizer and small nanoparticle size contribute to the improved mobility in consolidated porous media at high salinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12132-12141
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We deeply appreciate decades of contributions of Joan Brennecke toward understanding molecular interactions for supercritical fluids and ionic liquids which have enriched our work and that of so many colleagues in this Festschrift. We acknowledge support of the Advanced Energy Consortium (member companies include Shell, Total, Exxon-Mobil, and Repsol), the Department of Energy Center for Subsurface Energy Security and the Welch Foundation (No. F-1319).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


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