Asphaltene deposition in turbulent shear flows


MSc graduation project of Gilles de Combe

Location: Lab. for Aero & Hydrodynamics

Supervisors: Ruud Henkes, Aris Twerdadr. R. Delfosir. Arnoud Greidanus & irKoen Schutte


Deposition of asphaltenes in well bores and transportation pipelines as a result of reduction in pressure has been a flow assurance concern for the oil and gas industry. Asphaltenes in crude oils that exhibit asphaltene precipitation and deposition behaviour during primary depletion are typically undersaturated. During reservoir production at a constant temperature, once pressure decreases to the asphaltene precipitation onset pressure, asphaltenes start to precipitate and potentially deposit in the well-bore region and flow lines. Asphaltene precipitation is a thermodynamic process which is mainly a function of pressure, and temperature. Asphaltene deposition, on the other hand, depends on flow shear rate, surface type and characteristics, particle size and particle-surface interactions. After precipitation, asphaltene particles must deposit and stick to a surface before they can become a flow assurance problem in straight flow lines.
This project will study the growth and deposition of asphaltenes in a Taylor-Couette shear flow under laminar and turbulent flow conditions in a model fluid.