Use of Thermal Analysis and Rheometry to Study Waxation in Crude Oil


Crude oil is typically extracted as a single organic liquid phase from the reservoir. However during transportation, a drop in the temperature can cause the higher molecular weight paraffins or waxes to separate into the solid phase. The temperature at which the first wax crystals appear during cooling is commonly known as the wax appearance temperature (WAT). Once below the WAT, the crude oil can form a gel-like structure. Breaking down this structure to restart and maintain the flow may often require energy- and cost-intensive approaches. This talk will focus on characterizing crude oil and related fuels using thermal and rheological analysis at different temperatures above and below the WAT in the context of flow assurance. We will compare different types of crude oils for differences in their properties. The thermal analysis section will focus on DSC as a technique to measure WAT with improved sensitivity and highlight the effects of supercooling in performing these measurements. The rheometric studies will cover a range of studies from viscosity measurements above the WAT to measuring the yield stress below the WAT. Given that viscosity and yield stress play a critical role in determining the optimum conditions to maintain flow conditions in a pipeline, the emphasis of this talk will be on the method development to perform these measurements along with strategies to eliminate or reduce experimental artefacts.

About the Speaker

Yash Adhia is a Senior Applications Support Engineer at TA Instruments supporting the thermal and rheology line of products. Prior to joining TA Instruments, he earned his Master’s in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During his graduate studies, he worked on studying and characterizing gels formed through the self-assembly of small molecules and its interaction with polymeric additives using thermal, rheological and optical techniques. He earned his Bachelor’s in Surface Coating Technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India where his undergraduate research focused on studying curing kinetics of epoxy resins using DSCs. During the course of his undergraduate and graduate studies, he has had the opportunity to intern at Asian Paints India Ltd, Mumbai, working on formulating and characterizing photo-curable coatings, and at INOS Technologies, Ann Arbor working on negative pressure wound therapy foams.