Applications

It’s important to note that the nFluids technology is a true platform technology, in that there are multiple potential applications not only in oil and gas but also in a variety of other industrial applications, such as medicine, lubrication, coatings etc.

Oil and Gas Applications :

Cementing

Nanoparticles can be used in well cementing to accelerate the cement hydration process because of their high reactivity and ultra-fine nature. Incorporation of nanoparticles into cement slurry gives enhanced mechanical properties, lower porosity and permeability, which are crucial factors for increased durability.

Catalysts

Nanoparticles have a higher surface area so there is increased catalytic activity because more catalytic reactions can occur at the same time. Nanoparticle catalysts can also be easily separated and recycled with more retention of catalytic activity than their bulk counterparts.

Polymer extraction

The use of polymer in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) does not come without the associated problems of produced oil and water management and water discharge restrictions.  Nanoparticles can be used in EOR not only to aid recovery but also to aid the separation of various water soluble polymers.

Foam stability

Foamed systems are used in a variety of oil and gas applications from stimulation to enhanced oil recovery.  Nanoparticles can be utilized to enhance foam bubble stability by reducing coalescence and minimizing drainage.

Corrosion control

Nanoparticles are capable of producing non-wetting surfaces that prevent adsorption of aqueous media whilst minimizing contact with coatings and their under layers. Nanotechnology can also bring new tools for corrosion protection related to superior corrosion resistant coatings, corrosion inhibitors and as nano-reservoirs for delivering inhibitors.

Re-Fracturing

Re-fracturing the pay zone of oil and gas wells has the potential to reduce well decline and extend the productive life.  Nanoparticles can be used to seal off existing fracture networks and flow paths, whilst allowing fracturing of new oil bearing channels and the production of previously trapped hydrocarbons.

Sour Gas Scavenging

H2S is a lethal, colorless, and odorless gas that can be found in many oil and gas wells around the world. With an increase in oil and gas drilling, safety continues to be a primary concern. When functionalized, nanoparticles can react with the sour gas molecules and convert them to a precipitate that can then be removed from the system.

Coil Tubing Lubrication

Reducing friction in deep wells is always a goal in order to achieve faster drilling and longer reach in the production zone.  Nanoparticle coatings can produce smoother finished surfaces that would reduce the sliding friction in coiled tubing or other similar applications.

Oil & Water Separation

Nanoparticles with optimized surface chemistry can be used as coatings that are selective for either oil or water. Additionally, magnetic nanoparticles added to emulsions will adsorb to the oil-water interface, allowing for quick phase separation with the application of a magnetic field.

Other Industries

Equally, there are many other applications outside of oil & gas in medicine, lubrication, coatings etc.

Nanoparticles have a wide array of applications in the electronics industry: from coatings that improve the efficiency of batteries and solar cells, to facilitating the creation of nano-scale transistors. Conductive nanoparticle ink is being used to create 3D printable circuit boards and electronic devices.

Nanoparticles can be dispersed in ceramics, metals, and polymers during processing to create composite materials. These materials can exhibit enhanced mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical properties at low nanoparticle concentrations due to their large particle-matrix interfacial area

Due to extreme size difference between nanoparticles and living cells, nanotechnology has shown great promise in medical applications. For example, nanoparticles can act as carriers for therapeutic drug molecules carrying them to the desired location within a patient’s body.

Another example is an experimental cancer treatment, known as magnetic hyperthermia, in which nano-sized iron oxide nanoparticles are injected into a cancerous tissue and heat up in the presence of an oscillating magnetic field to destroy target cells.

Stable dispersions of nano-sized iron oxide nanoparticles (e.g. magnetite) suspended in a carrier fluid exhibit strongly magnetized properties in the presence of an external magnetic field (superparamagnetic).

This unique property is utilized, for example, in magnetic seals where ferrofluid is held in place by magnets and forms a barrier that keeps out moisture, dust and debris. This property is also utilized in vehicle suspension systems.

Surface coatings containing nanoparticles offer a number of unique advantages that have found commercial applications. Nano-sized particles can be used to produce water-repellant, self-cleaning surfaces that mimic the “Lotus effect” found in nature.

‘Smart’ heat transfer fluids containing stabilized nanoparticles exhibit enhanced thermal conductivity and heat transfer coefficients compared to conventional coolants.

Adding nanoparticles to lubricants enhances their ability to conduct heat, lubricate and protect from wear-and-tear. These are important properties in automotive industry as better lubricants result in reduced engine wear, lower noise, and better and longer engine performance.

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