On the application of silica gel for mitigating CO2 leakage in CCS projects: rheological properties and chemical stability

Sobhan Hatami, Thomas J. Hughes, Hongyi Sun, Hamid Roshan, Stuart D.C. Walsh

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Silica sol gels have the potential to act as sealing agents to reduce leakage risks associated with long-term CO2 storage. This study considers the effects of brines of varying chemical composition on the formation of sol gels, their viscosity, and their long term stability. The gelation times of sol–gel solutions were measured for different concentrations of SiO2, Na+, K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ as well as pH levels. Individually, increased concentrations of SiO2, Na+, K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ reduced gelation time. However, the combined effects of Na+, HCl, and Ca2+ or Mg2+ were found to delay gelation, compared to when only Ca2+ or Mg2+ is added. Gelation times were similarly found to be a complex function of the pH of the system. Empirical fits were obtained describing the gelation times and the precursor sol viscosities from the start of activation until gelation. Expressions are presented that relate the changes in the fitting parameters in response to variations in gel composition. There is good agreement between the experimental measurements and the models, which could be used to predict gelation rates in field-scale applications. The durability of the gel was also investigated through experiments in which the gels were exposed to different solutions of varying salinity and pH. These results showed that silica gels were stable after 45 days of brine exposure, with the most significant change being a slight expansion of the gel. Additional experiments revealed that the gels remained thermally stable for expended periods at a temperature of 60 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109155
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • CO sequestration
  • Rheology
  • Silica sol

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