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A new approach for quantitative mapping of retention mechanisms of associative polymers in porous media.

Afolabi, Richard O.; Oluyemi, Gbenga F.; Officer, Simon; Ugwu, Johnson O.


Simon Officer

Johnson O. Ugwu


The retention of associative polymer molecules poses a significant challenge for its transport in porous media, and this arises due to the hydrophobic interactions that exists between the retained molecules. The known experimental approach in literature for quantifying polymer retention under static or dynamic conditions reports a generalized outcome without adequate estimates for each type of retention mechanisms. Thus, an accurate quantitative description of the various retention mechanisms (monolayer adsorption, multilayer adsorption and entrapment) attributable to associative polymers is crucial for proper optimization of its transport in porous media. In this work, a novel predictive approach was developed for quantitative mapping of the various retention mechanisms connected with associative polymers. The basis was a first-principles method adopted in mapping static to dynamic retention. This novel approach was achieved by relating the characteristic time scale for static and dynamic retention to the variation in polymer and reservoir properties, thus making it possible to correlate static retention results to large-scale dynamic retention with minimal fitting parameters. Furthermore, the mapping of the static to dynamic retention ensured an accurate quantification of the different retention mechanisms attributable to associative polymers. In this model, the in-situ entrapment was linked to the effective pore radius and the hydrodynamic size of the polymer molecules. Entrapment of polymer molecular aggregates was predicted based on the assumption that this occurs when the hydrodynamic size of the molecules becomes equal/greater than the effective pore size in the porous media. In addition, a threshold concentration value was estimated from which mechanical entrapment of polymer molecules would occur in a porous media alongside adsorption on pore surface. Similarly, a concentration value was estimated at which entrapment of polymer molecules becomes the dominant retention mechanism in the porous media.


AFOLABI, R.O., OLUYEMI, G.F., OFFICER, S. and UGWU, J.O. 2021. A new approach for quantitative mapping of retention mechanisms of associative polymers in porous media. Journal of molecular liquids [online], 343, article 117685. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 28, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 29, 2022
Journal Journal of molecular liquids
Print ISSN 0167-7322
Electronic ISSN 1873-3166
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 343
Article Number 117685
Keywords Associative polymers; Adsorption; Polymer retention; Mechanical entrapment
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