Silane modification of glass and silica surfaces to obtain equally oil-wet surfaces in glass-covered silicon micromodel applications



[1] Wettability is a key parameter influencing capillary pressures, permeabilities, fingering mechanisms, and saturations in multiphase flow processes within porous media. Glass-covered silicon micromodels provide precise structures in which pore-scale displacement processes can be visualized. The wettability of silicon and glass surfaces can be modified by silanization. However, similar treatments of glass and silica surfaces using the same silane do not necessarily yield the same wettability as determined by the oil-water contact angle. In this study, surface cleaning pretreatments were investigated to determine conditions that yield oil-wet surfaces on glass with similar wettability to silica surfaces treated with the same silane, and both air-water and oil-water contact angles were determined. Borosilicate glass surfaces cleaned with standard cleaning solution 1 (SC1) yield intermediate-wet surfaces when silanized with hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), while the same cleaning and silanization yields oil-wet surfaces on silica. However, cleaning glass in boiling concentrated nitric acid creates a surface that can be silanized to obtain oil-wet surfaces using HMDS. Moreover, this method is effective on glass with prior thermal treatment at an elevated temperature of 400°C. In this way, silica and glass can be silanized to obtain equally oil-wet surfaces using HMDS. It is demonstrated that pretreatment and silanization is feasible in silicon-silica/glass micromodels previously assembled by anodic bonding, and that the change in wettability has a significant observable effect on immiscible fluid displacements in the pore network.