With the wide application of ASP (alkali/surfactant/polymer) flooding oil recovery technology, the produced water from ASP flooding has increased greatly. The clay particles carried by crude oil in the process of flow have a synergetic effect with oil displacement agents in the produced water, which increases the treatment difficulty of produced water. The stability of produced water is decided by the stability of oil droplets in the ASP-flooding-produced water system. The oil content, Zeta potential, interfacial tension and oil droplet size are important parameters to characterize the stability of produced water. In this paper, the changes of the oil content, Zeta potential, interfacial tension and oil droplet size of ASP flooding oily wastewater under the synergetic effect of different concentrations of quartz sand particles and oil displacement agents were studied by laboratory experiments. The experimental results show that the negatively charged quartz sand particles can absorb active substances in crude oil and surfactant molecules in the water phase and migrate to the oil–water interface, which increases the repulsion between quartz sand particles, decreasing the oil–water interfacial tension. Thus, the stability of oil droplets is enhanced, and the aggregation difficulty between oil droplets and quartz sand particles is increased. With the continually increasing quartz sand concentration, quartz sand particles combine with surfactant molecules adsorbed on the oil–water interface to form an aggregate. Meanwhile, the polymer molecules crimp from the stretching state, and the number of them surrounding the surface of the flocculation structure is close to saturation, which makes the oil droplets and quartz sand particles prone to aggregation, and the carried active substances desorb from the interface, resulting in the instability of the produced water system. The research on the synergetic effect between quartz sand particles and oil displacement agents is of great significance for deepening the treatment of ASP-produced water.
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