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Oligomeric cationic Gemini surfactants: synthesis, surface activities and rheological properties as thickener

Ming Zhou, Xinyi Deng, Yiping Chen, Yaxiong Zhao, Ruifeng Ni, Jiangyu Huang
Published: 22 September 2022

Abstract: In this study, three oligomeric cationic Gemini surfactants (Ⅲ1, Ⅲ2, and Ⅲ3) were prepared from different major raw materials, including long-chain alkyl amine (dodecyl amine, tetradecyl amine or cetyl amine), formic acid, formaldehyde, diethyl amine hydrochloride and epichlorohydrin. The synthesis conditions for one of the three surfactants, bis-[2-hydroxy-3-(N,N-dimethyl-N-dodecyl)propyl]dipropylammonium chloride (Ⅲ1), were optimised by orthogonal experiments. The optimum synthesis conditions were: molar ratio of intermediate Ⅱ to intermediate Ⅰ1 = 1.0:2.2, reaction temperature = 85 °C and reaction time = 16 h. The structures of the three prepared compounds were characterised by FTIR and 1H NMR. Their thermal properties were evaluated by thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The Geminisurfactants prepared exhibited better surface active properties than conventional single chain cationic surfactants. With increasing carbon chain length from C12 to C16, both CMC and surface tension γCMC decreased, while the viscosity of the thickening solution prepared with the synthesised oligomeric cationic Gemini surfactants as the main component increased. The optimum thickening formula was: 2.0 wt% Ⅲ3 + 0.8 wt% sodium salicylate (NaSal) + 0.6 wt% KCl. The viscosity of the optimum thickening formulation was 190.4 mPa s. Gemini oligomeric cationic surfactants could be used as thickeners in the production of fracturing fluids, flooding agents and drilling fluids for oil and gas production in oil fields.
Keywords: fracturing fluids / oligomeric cationic Gemini surfactants / rheological properties / surface properties / thickener / wormlike micelle

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