Project Info

Iron Oxide Nanoparticles as an Effective and Recyclable Clathrate Hydrate Dispersant in the Oil and Gas Industry

Ning Wu

Project Goals and Description:

Gas hydrate formation in the pipeline may clog the flow and cause severe loss in the oil and gas industry. A common method is to inject anti-agglomerant (AA), one of the low-dosage hydrate inhibitors (LDHIs), in the pipeline to prevent small hydrate particles from agglomeration so that they can flow in the pipeline instead of causing plugging. However, there are financial and environmental concerns about those chemicals. Recent studies show that adequately modified nanoparticles can effectively disperse small hydrate particles. In this project, we will modify the surfaces of iron oxide nanoparticles to make them effective in minimizing hydrate plugging. We will characterize their performance via both macroscopic and microscopic experiments to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. We will also recycle those nanoparticles with an external magnetic field. By reusing the nanoparticles, the economic cost will be much lower, and their environmental impact will also be minimized.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.
Xianwei Zhang, Jingjing Gong, Xingfu Yang, Britanny Slupe, Janice Jin, Ning Wu, and Amadeu K. Sum ACS Omega 2019 4 (8), 13496-13508 DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.9b01806

Primary Contacts:

Ning Wu, Yuanxing Zhang,

Student Preparation


No specific qualifications are needed. Love to do hands-on experiments is appreciated. Everything can be learned from scratch. Students from Chemical engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Chemistry, and Metallurgical and Materials Engineering are encouraged.   


6-10 hours


Physics and Chemistry knowledge of emulsions and gas hydrates Nanoparticle synthesis and emulsion preparation skills Characterization methods include but are not limited to Raman spectroscopy, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy.   Presentation skills Writing skills


The graduate mentor will meet the student formally every two days per week to discuss the progress, assign short-term research tasks, and teach specific skills needed. The student will be expected to join the weekly group meeting of our research group. The undergraduate researcher, graduate mentor, and I will meet once a week to discuss the research progress.


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