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Complex Fluidic Systems in the Energy Industry: Interactions of a Hydrophobically Modified Polymer with Surfactant Worm-like Micelles

Speaker: Brian D. Figura
Series: Final Public Oral Examinations
Location: Lapidus Lounge (E-Quad A210)
Date/Time: Friday, May 16, 2014, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Two problems arising from the use of complex fluidic systems in the energy industry were studied: the behavior of worm-like surfactant micelles in porous media and the control and measurement of the hydration of hydraulic cement.

The first problem arises when surfactant solutions are used as fracturing fluids in drilling operations.  To influence the behavior of these surfactants, a hydrophobically modified chitosan was synthesized, and the interactions of the polymers synthesized with surfactant micelles was studied via rheology.  The addition of polymer led to a increase in the elasticity and relaxation time of the system.  A high-pressure microfluidic device was produced via lithographic techniques to study the in-situ behavior of the worm-like micelles, and was also utilized as a capillary rheometer to measure the behavior of the worm-like micelles at high shear rates.

In the second problem, two tools were developed and validated to enable the accurate measurement of the setting of cement.  The effects of cement type, water/cement ratio, and yield-stress additive were studied.  With these tools, two different techniques to achieve temporal control of the setting of cement were examined.  The first of these techniques was also examined through diffusing front measurements, while the second was also studied via electron spin resonance measurements.