A Pipe-Loop Apparatus to Investigate Asphaltene Deposition

Alboudwarej, H., Svrcek, W.Y., Kantzas, A. and Yarranton, H.W.

DOI: 10.1081/LFT-120038720
J. Petr. Sci. Technol., 22(7-8), 2004, Pages 799-820.


A circulating pipe-loop has been designed to measure asphaltene deposition under flowing conditions. Bitumen and n-heptane are combined to induce asphaltene precipitation at the entrance of a test section in which deposition is to be measured. The n-heptane is separated from the bitumen at the exit of the test section allowing the asphaltenes to redissolve in the bitumen before it is pumped back to the test section. In the test section, solid deposits are measured nonintrusively with X-ray tomography using a computer assisted tomographic (CAT) scanner. A segment of the test section is also removable for direct gravimetric measurement and collection of deposits. The pipe-loop is designed to investigate the effect of flow rate, solvent type, solvent-to-bitumen ratio, metal type, temperature, and pressure on asphaltene deposition. The effect of additives can also be assessed. The system is rated for pressures upto 7 MPa, temperatures from 25 to 100°C, and flow rates up to 0.1 m3/h.

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