Competitive adsorption between an AMPS®-based fluid loss polymer and Welan gum biopolymer in oil well cement



Water-soluble 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (AMPS®)-based copolymers are commonly used to provide water retention (fluid loss control) for oil well cement slurries. Here, the fluid loss performance of a CaAMPS®-N,N-dimethylacrylamide copolymer (CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA) in the presence of Welan gum, an anionic microbial biopolymer produced by anaerobic fermentation using Alcaligenes ATCC 31555 bacteria was investigated at 80°C. Welan gum is used to control unwanted free water development at the surface of the cement slurry. The effectiveness of CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA fluid loss additive (FLA) solely relies on its high adsorption onto the positively charged surfaces of cement hydrates. Adsorption of the FLA is, however, perturbed by Welan gum. This anionic polysaccharide competes with CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA for adsorption sites on the cement surface. This effect is surprising because in cement pore solution, Welan gum exhibits a much lower specific anionic charge amount than CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA. The reason is that Welan gum possesses carboxylate functionalities, which are much stronger anchor groups than the sulfonate groups present in CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA. The superiority of the carboxylate groups regarding their affinity to the mineral surface, which possesses insufficiently coordinated Ca atoms is confirmed by a higher calcium binding capability for Welan gum than for the FLA. Thus, Welan gum can reduce effectiveness of CaAMPS®-co-NNDMA as fluid loss agent by preventing its adsorption or through displacement of already adsorbed FLA molecules from the surface of cement. In multiadmixture systems, which are commonly used in oil well cement, concrete or mortars, competitive adsorption between different additives for surface sites can negatively impact the performance of these additives. Understanding the reasons behind can help to develop more effective admixture systems. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010