Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 293, Issue 12, pp 3487–3497 | Cite as

Physicochemical and microemulsion properties of dimeric quaternary ammonium salts with trimethylene spacer for enhanced oil recovery

  • Ronald NgueleEmail author
  • Kyuro Sasaki
  • Hikmat Said-Al Salim
  • Yuichi Sugai
Original Contribution


Dimeric surfactants, also termed as Gemini surfactants, are regarded as organic materials which have two hydrophilic head groups and two hydrophobic groups in the molecules linked together with a spacer. In this study, dimeric surfactants of quaternary ammonium bromide connected with a trimethylene spacer group (m-3-m) have been investigated as potential micellar solutions for enhanced oil recovery. Static surface tension, interfacial tension as well as optimal salinity characterized their physicochemical and microemulsion properties. Using modeled petroleum fluids, the critical micelle concentration (CMC) was found dependent not only of the chemical architecture of the surfactant but also of the composition in the liquid phase. The nature and/or the length of spacer group participates significantly to the spatial rearrangement of the dimeric surfactants which subsequently altered the surface properties. For the same spacer group, an ultralow interfacial tension was achieved. Encouraging oil solubilization was found for surfactants used with an effect pronounced for longer alkyl chain. Furthermore, both the effects and the presence of metallic divalent ions on the phase behavior were discussed.


Bis(quaternary ammonium halide) Surface properties Microemulsion Oil solubilization Oil recovery 



The authors extend their gratitude towards Lion Ltd. for synthetizing and kindly supplying the surfactants used in this study. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) for the support.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Nguele
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kyuro Sasaki
    • 1
  • Hikmat Said-Al Salim
    • 2
  • Yuichi Sugai
    • 1
  1. 1.Resources Production and Safety Engineering LaboratoryKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Chemical & Petroleum EngineeringNorth Wing UCSI UniversityKuala LumpurMalaysia

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