Instability of hydrocarbon films over mineral surfaces: Microscale experimental studies

Franco M. Francisca*, Victor A. Rinaldi, Juan Carlos Santamarina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The fluid-mineral interaction defines the affinity of mineral surfaces for water in the presence of oil, determines wettability, affects interparticle forces, and controls the effectiveness of soil decontamination and oil recovery from reservoirs. This study involves the use of electrical impedance measurements and optical microscopy to determine the rupture time of thin oil films on mineral surfaces when water droplets are placed on the film. The results show that the time for film rupture depends on the mineral and the type of oil, it increases with the increase in oil viscosity, and it decreases in the presence of surfactants. The instability and rupture of the thin hydrocarbon films are analyzed taking into consideration surface forces and disjoining/conjoining pressure. These results are relevant to defining the ability of mineral surfaces to become wetted by water, leading to the displacement of organic films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1128
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


  • Biofilm
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Mineral deposits
  • Oil recovery
  • Porous media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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