The goal of this research was to develop methods for acquiring reservoir pressure and temperature data near the wellbore and farther out into the formation and to correlate such information to fracture connectivity and geometry. Existing reservoir-characterization tools allow pressure and temperature to be measured only at the wellbore. The development of temperature- and pressuresensitive nanosensors will enable in-situ measurements within the reservoir. This paper provides the details of the experimental work performed in the process of developing temperature nanosensors. The study investigated the parameters involved in the mobility of nanoparticles through porous and fractured media. These parameters include particle size or size distribution, shape, and surface charge or affinity to rock materials.
The principal findings of this study were that spherically shaped nanoparticles of a certain size and surface charge compatible with that expected in formation rock are most likely to be transported successfully, without being trapped because of physical straining, chemical, or electrostatic effects. We found that tin-bismuth (Sn-Bi) nanoparticles of 200 nm and smaller were transported through Berea sandstone. Larger particles were trapped at the inlet of the core, indicating that there was an optimum particle size range. We also found that the entrapment of silver (Ag) nanowires was primarily because of their shape. This conclusion was supported by the recovery of the spherical Ag nanoparticles with the same surface characteristics through the same porous media used during the Ag nanowires injection. The entrapment of hematite nanorice was attributed to its affinity to the porous matrix caused by surface charge. The hematite coated with surfactant (which modified its surface charge to one compatible with flow media) flowed through the glass beads, emphasizing the importance of particle surface charge.
Preliminary investigation of the flow mechanism of nanoparticles through a naturally fractured greywacke core was conducted by injecting fluorescent silica microspheres. We found that silica microspheres of different sizes (smaller than the fracture opening) could be transported through the fracture. We demonstrated the possibility of using microspheres to estimate fracture aperture by injecting a polydisperse microsphere sample. It was observed that only spheres of 20 μm and smaller were transported. This result agreed reasonably well with the measurement of hydraulic fracture aperture (27 μm), as determined by the cubic law.