Particle-stabilized emulsions can be prepared by different CNT materials supported by nanoparticles. Oil-in-water and water-in-oil types of emulsions can be efficiently prepared depending on the surface treatments of these nanohybrids. The emulsion properties, such as droplet size and distribution, emulsion volume fraction, oil/water interfacial area, can be easily adjusted by changing the particle concentration and oil/water ratio. All of these emulsion properties can be related to the HLB properties of the particles (as reflected by contact angle) and the particle sizes (as measured by TEM). We are also interested on the fluid properties of the emulsions (viscosity).
We are expecting to utilize these materials as catalyst supports and carry out catalytic reactions underground in oil reservoirs. The goal is to reduce the interfacial tension between water and crude oil and achieve enhanced oil recovery. In collaboration with Professors Benjamin Shiau and Harwell’s group in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at OU, we also carry out column tests and core flood experiments to simulate if our emulsions can successfully penetrate to deep underground under realistic conditions
The role of water in carbon feed on the surface-guided growth of horizontally aligned single-walled carbon
nanotubes (HA-SWCNTs) was investigated. It is shown that the amount of water can be optimized to favor HA-SWCNT growth, which is proposed to be due to selective etching of carbon deposits at carbon–metal interface. Without water, nanotube–nanotube interaction and carbon accumulation at the interface are disproportionately large compared to the rate of nanotube growth, leading to catalyst deactivation. With excess water, suppression of nanotube growth occurs, resulting in reduced carbon yield on the surface.
Intermediate carbon/water feed ratios achieve cleaner growth with high efficiency.