Development of a Novel Surfactant-Based Viscoelastic Fluid System as an Alternative Nonpolymeric Fracturing Fluid and Comparative Analysis with Traditional Guar Gum Gel Fluid

Mahesh Chandra Patel, Mohammed Abdalla Ayoub, Mazlin Bt Idress, Anirbid Sircar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Surfactant-based viscoelastic (SBVE) fluids have recently gained interest from many oil industry researchers due to their polymer-like viscoelastic behaviour and ability to mitigate problems of polymeric fluids by replacing them during various operations. This study investigates an alternative SBVE fluid system for hydraulic fracturing with comparable rheological characteristics to conventional polymeric guar gum fluid. In this study, low and high surfactant concentration SBVE fluid and nanofluid systems were synthesized, optimized, and compared. Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and counterion inorganic sodium nitrate salt, with and without 1 wt% ZnO nano-dispersion additives, were used; these are entangled wormlike micellar solutions of cationic surfactant. The fluids were divided into the categories of type 1, type 2, type 3, and type 4, and were optimized by comparing the rheological characteristics of different concentration fluids in each category at 25 °C. The authors have reported recently that ZnO NPs can improve the rheological characteristics of fluids with a low surfactant concentration of 0.1 M cetyltrimethylammonium bromide by proposing fluids and nanofluids of type 1 and type 2. In addition, conventional polymeric guar gum gel fluid is prepared in this study and analyzed for its rheological characteristics. The rheology of all SBVE fluids and the guar gum fluid was analyzed using a rotational rheometer at varying shear rate conditions from 0.1 to 500 s−1 under 25 °C, 35 °C, 45 °C, 55 °C, 65 °C, and 75 °C temperature conditions. The comparative analysis section compares the rheology of the optimal SBVE fluids and nanofluids in each category to the rheology of polymeric guar gum fluid for the entire range of shear rates and temperature conditions. The type 3 optimum fluid with high surfactant concentration of 0.2 M cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and 1.2 M sodium nitrate was the best of all the optimum fluids and nanofluids. This fluid shows comparative rheology to guar gum fluid even at elevated shear rate and temperature conditions. The comparison of average viscosity values under a different group of shear rate conditions suggests that the overall optimum SBVE fluid prepared in this study is a potential nonpolymeric viscoelastic fluid candidate for hydraulic fracturing operation that could replace polymeric guar gum fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2444
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • alternative nonpolymeric fracturing fluid compositions
  • comparison of polymeric and nonpolymeric viscoelastic fluids
  • CTAB-based viscoelastic fluids
  • rheology of guar gum
  • surfactant-based viscoelastic fluids for fracturing
  • viscoelastic surfactant fluids
  • ZnO nanoparticle-assisted viscoelastic fluids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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