Surfactant (in situ)-Surfactant (Synthetic) Interaction in Na2CO3/Surfactant/Acidic Oil Systems for Enhanced Oil Recovery: Its Contribution to Dynamic Interfacial Tension Behavior

Moundher Hadji, Adil Al-Rubkhi, Rashid S. Al-Maamari, Mohamed Aoudia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of synthetic surfactant molecular structure on the dynamic interfacial tension (DIFT) behavior in Na2CO3/surfactant/crude oil was investigated. Three surfactants, a nonionic (iC17(EO)13), an alcohol propoxy sulfate (C14-15(PO)8SO4), and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) were considered in this study. Sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) was added to ensure complete compatibility between brine and Na2CO3. In Na2CO3/iC17(EO)13/oil and Na2CO3/C14-15(PO)8SO4/oil systems, a strong synergistic effect for lowering the dynamic interfacial tension was observed, in which the dynamic IFT are initially reduced to ultralow transient minima in the range 1.1 × 10-3-6.6 × 10-3 mNm-1 followed by an increment to a practically similar equilibrium value of 0.22 mNm-1 independent of Na2CO3 concentration (for iC17(EO)13) and to decreasing equilibrium values with increasing alkali concentrations (for C14-15(PO)8SO4). The observed difference in the equilibrium IFT for the two systems suggest that in both systems, the mixed interfacial film is efficient in reducing the dynamic interfacial tension to ultralow transient minima (∼10-3 mNm-1) but the mixed film soap-iC17(EO)13 is much less efficient than the mixed film soap-C14-15(PO)8SO4 in resisting soap diffusion from the interface to the bulk phases. In both systems, the synergism was attributed, in part, to the intermolecular and intramolecular ion-dipole interactions between the soap molecules and the synthetic surfactant as well as to some shielding effect of the electrostatic repulsion between the carboxylate groups by the nearby ethylene oxide (13 EO) and propylene oxide (8 PO) groups in the mixed interfacial monolayer. SDS surfactant showed a much lower synergism relative to iC17(EO)13 and C14-15(PO)8SO4, probably due to the absence of ion-dipole interactions and shielding effect in the mixed interfacial layer at the oil-water interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-771
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surfactants and Detergents
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 21 2015


  • Dynamic IFT
  • in situ surfactant
  • Ion-dipole interaction
  • Surfactant-surfactant interaction
  • Synergism
  • Ultralow transient IFT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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