Molecular mechanics and microcalorimetric investigations of the effects of molecular water on the aggregation of asphaltenes in solutions

J. Murgich, C. Lira-Galeana, Daniel Merino Garcia, Simon Ivar Andersen, J.M. del Rio-Garcia

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Abstract

The interaction of two model asphaltene molecules from the Athabasca sand oil with a water molecule in a toluene solution was studied by means of molecular mechanics calculations. It was found that water forms bridging H bonds between the heteroatoms of asphaltenes with a considerable span in energies. The stronger H bond found has energies higher than those corresponding to the stacking of the aromatic areas of the same asphaltene molecules. This shows that the water molecule may generate additional mechanisms of aggregation of asphaltenes in toluene solution, as found experimentally. The H bond mechanism depends on the heteroatoms involved, the extension of the aromatic regions, and the steric interference present in the asphaltene molecules. The simulation results have been compared with experimental values of enthalpy of association of two different petroleum asphaltenes obtained by titration calorimetry. A simple dimer dissociation model was used to derive the information about the heat and the constant of dissociation from asphaltenes of Mexico and Alaska obtained from the calorimetric data. The association enthalpies calculated were found to be in excellent agreement with those measured, although the simulation only employed the interaction between averaged molecular structures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir
Volume18
Issue number23
Pages (from-to)9080-9086
ISSN0743-7463
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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