Water-Soluble Polymers for Petroleum Recovery
We both found ourselves working on water-soluble polymers for oil recovery in the early 1980' s. Our previ ous backgrounds i nvo 1 ved the synthesi sand characteri zati on of hydrocarbon polymers for everythi ng from elastomers to plastics. As such, we were largely unprepared for the special difficulties associated with water soluble polymers in genera 1, and thei ruse in enhanced oi 1 recovery (EOR) , in parti cul ar. Oil patch applications have a jargon and technical heritage quite apart from that usually experienced by traditional polymer scientists. At that time, no books were available to help us "get up to speed" in the polymers for oil recovery field. Since then, there have been a number of symposia on this topic, but still few books, especially from the polymer (rather than the field-applications) perspective. Synthetic water soluble/swellable polymers have commercial importance in such application as water treatment, cosmetics, and foods. Yet, these polymers have not received the scientific/technological attention they deserve. The application of water soluble polymers to oil recovery has, in fact, highlighted the need for new water based materials, and a fundamental understanding of their structure and use. Interest has been spurred not only for the potenti a 1 economi c credi ts from enhanced oi 1 recovery and an augmented polymers business, but also by the challenge of designing water soluble polymers for harsh environments.
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