Modeling Contact Angle vs. Temperature for the Quartz-Water-Decane System

Timothy S. Duffy, Isaac K. Gamwo, Russell T. Johns, Serguei N. Lvov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Innovative approaches are needed to improve the efficiency of oil recovery technologies to meet the growing demands of fossil-fuel based energy consumption. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods such as low-salinity waterflooding and chemically tuned waterflooding aim to optimize the reservoir’s wetting properties, detaching oil globules from rock surfaces and allowing easier oil flow through pore throats. This wetting behavior is commonly quantified by contact angle measurements of the rock-oil-brine interface, which have been thoroughly investigated and theorized for many systems at ambient temperatures and pressures. However, few studies exist for extending contact angle theories away from ambient conditions. In this paper, we model the contact angles of a quartz-water-decane system at elevated temperatures using the surface tension component (STC) approach. Temperature-dependent van der Waals [Lifshitz-van der Waals (LW)] interactions and hydrogen-bonding (acid-base) interactions were calculated and are incorporated into the model for the quartz-water-decane interface. The Hough and White procedure was used to create temperature-dependent dielectric functions of quartz, water, and normal decane for calculations of Hamaker coefficients. Hamaker coefficients calculated this way are highly linear with temperature and agree well with Israelachvili’s approximation. The acid-base interactions likely contribute the most to system wettability changes. Resulting contact angles of the quartz-water-decane system shift from water-wet (16o) to slightly water-wet (57.4o) as temperature increases. The model was also successfully verified for the quartz-air-water system. Our results can be used in future studies to determine optimal injected water compositions for specific rock-oil-brine and other systems with consideration of reservoir temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3668-3680
Number of pages13
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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