Asphaltene Flocculation Inhibition with Ultrasonic Wave Radiation: A Detailed Experimental Study of the Governing Mechanisms

Iman Najafi, Mahmood Amani


The concept of ultrasonic wave assisted asphaltene flocculation/deposition inhibition was earlier introduced by Najafi et al., (2011). Current study is based on a series of experimental analyses, rheological changes, flocculation behavior, and total asphaltene content of two types of crude oils.The role of ultrasonic wave radiation on these parameters are investigated in order to elaborate the changes in the kinetics of asphaltene flocculation which leads to inhibition of asphaltene flocs formation. Based on the results obtained from the experiments, one can conclude that ultrasonic wave radiation can be most effective if the wave is radiated up to an optimum time. Around this time the oil has its local minimum value of kinematic viscosity, the least value of asphaltene content, and least potential for formation of macro-structured flocsdue to reduction of aromatic to saturate ratio.
More detailed studiesrevealed that during radiation timetwo main mechanisms are active in asphaltenic crude oil: asphaltene particles disintegration and formation of asphaltene particles. Based on asphaltene content analysis, the optimum radiation time can be defined as the time at which the two mechanisms have an equal rate. The optimum radiation times are observed to be in the same time range in different tests. According to the results obtained, ultrasonic wave technology can be a potential method of flocculation inhibition and can have extensive industrial application.
Key words: Ultrasonic; Asphaltene; Flocculation inhibition


Ultrasonic; Asphaltene; Flocculation inhibition

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