Capillary imbibition tests are commonly applied to measure wettability alteration potential of chemicals. However, these tests are exhaustive, time-consuming, expensive, and the underlying physics of the alteration process from a surface chemistry point of view is often limited and/or unexplained. Contact angle measurement is a quicker and more feasible screening tool to assess the emerging wettability modifiers. They also provide visual data on the mechanics of the wettability alteration process. This paper focuses on contact angle measurements as a mean to evaluate the wettability alteration on mineral plates and porous rock samples. Imidazolium ionic liquids were tested at different concentrations. To study the effect of pH on the wettability, sodium chloride and sodium borate were used at different concentrations. The composition of divalent ions was varied due to their possible use with low/high salinity water as wettability alteration agent. Unmodified and surface modified silica, zirconium, and alumina nanoparticles were also tested.
Contact angle measurements were performed initially on mica, marble, and calcite plates. Experiments were repeated on polished surfaces of Berea sandstone, Indiana limestone, and -cleaned- Grosmont carbonate cores. Oils (pure and solvent mixed crude oils) with different viscosities and densities were used to test the effect of oil type on the process. The images were obtained by an SLR camera at different temperatures ranging from 25 to 80°C. By testing with different concentrations, the optimum chemicals were found for different mineral plates/porous rock systems. Then, the results were cross-checked with the imbibition tests performed on the same samples to validate the contact angle measurement observations.
Thermal stability tests were also performed in case of their use during or after a thermal method. For the thermal stability tests, contact angle experiments were conducted in a high pressure and high temperature (up to 200°C) cell. It was shown that certain ionic liquids and nanofluids are stable at high temperatures and can be efficiently used at low concentrations.