From the Nanometer Scale to the Oilfield: Applying Fundamental Asphaltene Research

Originally delivered Feb 4, 2015
Developed by: AIChE
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
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  • Duration:
    1 hour
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This talk focuses on recent studies that are designed to better understand the nanometer length scale association mechanisms of asphaltenes and how these studies can be related to a macroscopic perspective. For example, asphaltenes are a class of polydisperse molecules that are believed associate into small aggregates, called nanoaggregates, which further cluster into fractal superstructures. A key question in flow assurance could be: What sizes of asphaltenes are depositing? Without a mechanistic understanding of asphaltenes, one could model the process using molecules, nanoaggregates, clusters, or flocs as the primary depositing unit, each with different properties and concentrations in the oil.

While no conclusive answer to this question exists, this talk discusses a path forward to resolve this and other key questions regarding asphaltene mechanisms. Specific areas of discussion include asphaltene deposition precipitation, and X-ray and neutron scattering experiments.

Asphaltenes are a complex and associating material in petroleum whose non-ideal behavior and polydispersity inhibit simple and direct study. Consequently, accurate phase behavior and flow assurance modeling of asphaltenes have lagged behind other areas, like paraffin deposition.


Michael Hoepfner

Michael P. Hoepfner is an assistant professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His research interested are in the mechanisms and behavior of petroleum compounds, specifically asphaltenes.Read more

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