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Research Papers: Multiphase Flows

Oil/Water Emulsions Stabilized by Nanoparticles of Different Wettabilities

[+] Author and Article Information
Ilias Gavrielatos

Mem. ASME
McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering,
Tulsa University Separation Technology
Projects (TUSTP),
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104
e-mail: elias-gavrielatos@utulsa.edu

Ramin Dabirian

Mem. ASME
McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering,
Tulsa University Separation Technology
Projects (TUSTP),
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104
e-mail: ramin-dabirian@utulsa.edu

Ram S. Mohan

Fellow ASME
Mechanical Engineering Department,
Tulsa University Separation Technology
Projects (TUSTP),
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104
e-mail: ram-mohan@utulsa.edu

Ovadia Shoham

McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering,
Tulsa University Separation Technology
Projects (TUSTP),
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104
e-mail: ovadia-shoham@utulsa.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received December 20, 2017; final manuscript received May 14, 2018; published online June 29, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Ning Zhang.

J. Fluids Eng 141(2), 021301 (Jun 29, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1820; doi: 10.1115/1.4040465 History: Received December 20, 2017; Revised May 14, 2018

A state-of-the-art, portable dispersion characterization rig (P-DCR) is used to investigate the effect of nanoparticles (NP) on oil-water emulsion formation and stabilization. Spherical silica NP of different wettabilities were used to investigate their effect on separation kinetics of solid stabilized emulsions in terms of solid particle concentration, wettability, initial dispersion phase, water-cut, and shearing time. The main findings of the study include the following: NP, even at concentrations as low as 0.005% or 0.01% (by weight), can significantly increase separation time of oil/water emulsions from a few minutes to several hours or even days. The P-DCR is recommended as an effective inline tool to measure emulsion stability in the field.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Scanning electron microscope image of silica NP

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Fig. 2

Effect of NP on fluid viscosity

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Fig. 3

(a) Overview of the P-DCR (batch separator) used to prepare the emulsions, (b) close-up view of the P-DCR, and (c) schematic of the P-DCR showing important components

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Fig. 4

Temporal evolution of the separation process inside the batch separator. Horizontal line indicates 50% water-cut.

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Fig. 5

Oil and water separation profiles (without the presence of NP) for different water fractions. Y-axis is nondimensional.

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Fig. 6

(a) Stirring time effect on the separation profiles for emulsions stabilized by 0.05% wt. NP of intermediate wettability initially dispersed in water. (b) Zoom-in on the pure oil-emulsion interface (50% water-cut).

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Fig. 7

Emulsion samples under the microscope (a) simple W/O and (b) multiple O/W/O

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Fig. 8

Influence of initial particle location on the separation profiles for 10 min stirring time and 50% water-cut (a) nanoparticle concentration 0.05% and (b) nanoparticle concentration 0.5%

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Fig. 9

Separation profiles for a water-cut of 50% and different concentrations of oil-wet NP

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Fig. 10

Representative emulsion photographs for a hydrophobic NP concentration of 0.25% and a water-cut of 75%, 50%, and 25%

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Fig. 11

Separation profiles for 25% water-cut and different concentrations of hydrophobic NP

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Fig. 12

Representative emulsion photographs for the hydrophobic NP (concentration range 0.005–0.03%) and WC25% (after 50 min) (a) NP concentration 0.03% wt, (b) NP concentration 0.01% wt, and (c) NP concentration 0.005% wt

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Fig. 13

Microscope image of simple water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion for 25% water-cut (a) water droplet size measurements, 50X magnification (0.01% NP) and (b) 200X magnification (0.1% NP)

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Fig. 14

Separation profiles for 75% water-cut and different concentrations of hydrophilic NP

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Fig. 15

Separation profiles for 25% water-cut and different concentrations of hydrophilic NP

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Fig. 16

Emulsion photograph for the hydrophilic NP (concentration 0.5% wt) and WC25%

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Fig. 17

Comparison of emulsion volumes and stability for NPof different wettabilities, water-cut 50%, and NP concentration 0.5%. O-W: hydrophobic NP; W-W: hydrophilic NP; I-W: intermediate-wet NP.

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Fig. 18

Comparison of emulsion volumes and stability for NP of different wettabilities, water-cut 75%, and NP concentration 0.5%. O-W: hydrophobic NP; W-W: hydrophilic NP; I-W: intermediate-wet NP.

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Fig. 19

Repeatability test. Comparison of two sets of separation profiles obtained by running two different experiments under the exact same conditions. Separation profiles overlap.

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