In Situ Monitoring of the Inhibition of Asphaltene Adsorption by a Surfactant on Carbon Steel Surface

Gijo Raj, Edward Larkin, Alain Lesimple, Patrick Commins, Jamie Whelan, Pance Naumov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Simple surfactants have proven to be some of the most effective agents to mitigate the deposition of asphaltenes on pipeline walls; however, the best practices for their application are often empirical, and the actual mechanisms of their action remain elusive. Here, inhibition of asphaltene adsorption as viscoelastic films on carbon steel by a surfactant, dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid (DBSA), was directly monitored using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation. Different protocols for application of the inhibitor were assessed, including treatment of the clean surface before adhesion and application by premixing and postprecipitation. Asphaltenes were found to form a tightly bound viscoelastic layer on the carbon steel surface, and administering DBSA on preadsorbed asphaltenes removes most (86.5%) of this adsorbate. Premixing of DBSA and asphaltenes to simulate the commonly used application method results in a very short contact time (∼35 s) before most of asphaltenes (86.0%) are desorbed from the surface. Pretreatment of the metal surface with DBSA was found to be particularly effective, and it results in nearly complete (98.5%) removal. The efficacy of DBSA in organic scale removal, mainly asphaltenes, over prolonged time by repeated treatment was also investigated. The results indicate that alternating application of toluene and DBSA is the most effective protocol that prevents the loosely bound toluene-soluble fraction of asphaltenes to act as a nucleation layer that triggers the onset of growth of the asphaltene layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2030-2036
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 21 2019

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Asphaltenes
Surface-Active Agents
Carbon steel
Surface active agents
Adsorption
Monitoring
Acids
Toluene
Descaling
Quartz crystal microbalances
Adsorbates
asphaltene
dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid
Nucleation
Adhesion
Pipelines
Metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

Cite this

In Situ Monitoring of the Inhibition of Asphaltene Adsorption by a Surfactant on Carbon Steel Surface. / Raj, Gijo; Larkin, Edward; Lesimple, Alain; Commins, Patrick; Whelan, Jamie; Naumov, Pance.

In: Energy and Fuels, Vol. 33, No. 3, 21.03.2019, p. 2030-2036.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Raj, Gijo ; Larkin, Edward ; Lesimple, Alain ; Commins, Patrick ; Whelan, Jamie ; Naumov, Pance. / In Situ Monitoring of the Inhibition of Asphaltene Adsorption by a Surfactant on Carbon Steel Surface. In: Energy and Fuels. 2019 ; Vol. 33, No. 3. pp. 2030-2036.
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