Dynamic contact angles in oil–aqueous polymer solutions
Polymer flooding is an important process in enhanced oil recovery. The displacement front is unstable when low viscosity brine displaces the heavy crude oil in the reservoir. Water-soluble polymers are added to the brine to increase its viscosity which stabilizes the displacement process. To analyze the displacement process at the micro-level, we have investigated the dynamic contact angles in silicone oil–polymer (polyethylene oxide) solution and for the first time. The dynamic contact angle is the apparent contact angle at the three-phase contact line which governs the capillary pressure, and thus is important for the displacement process. The data show no obvious signs of either shear thinning or elastic behavior, although for some systems with highest elastic effects some unexplained effects on dynamic contact angles are observed that correlate with elastic effects. Overall, dynamic contact angles are explained well using existing models for two Newtonian fluids, when the zero shear viscosity is used for the polymer solution.