In this work, an oil-soluble surfactant was studied to enhance crude oil mobilization in a cryolite-packed miniature bed. The cryolite packed bed provided a transparent, random porous medium for observation at the microscopic level. In the first part of the paper, oil-soluble surfactants, Span 80 and Eni-surfactant (ES), were dissolved directly into the crude oil. The porous medium was imbued with the crude oil (containing the surfactants), and de-ionized water was the flooding phase; in this experiment, the system containing ES had the best performance. Subsequently, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), a hydrosoluble surfactant, was used to solubilize the ES, with the SDS acting as a carrier for the ES to the contaminated porous media. Finally, the SDS/ES micellar solutions were used in oil-removal tests on the packed bed. Grayscale image analysis was used to quantify the oil recovery effectiveness for the flooding experiments by measuring the white pixel percentage in the packed bed images. The SDS/ES flooding mixture had a better performance than the SDS alone.

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