On the Mass Balance of Asphaltene Precipitation

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In the evaluation of experimental data as well as in calculation of phase equilibria the necessity of the application of mass balances is obvious. In the case of asphaltenes the colloidal nature of these compounds may highly affect the mass balance. In the present paper several experiments are performed in order to check the consistency of mass balances within asphaltene precipitation. Asphaltenes are precipitated in two step processes either by changing temperature or by changes in precipitant with increasing precipitation power. This has been performed for three different oils. The data indicates that in temperature experiments as well as in solvent series experiments the precipitation of heavy asphaltenes affects the following precipitation of lighter asphaltenes. In both cases the mass balance using standard separation techniques cannot be closed, as less material is precipitated in a two step process than in the direct process either at low temperature or by direct precipitation with one precipitant. The different fractions were subject to HPLC size exclusion chromtagraphy showing that the material remaining in solution in the stepwise process was of low molecular weight, and that the material in the second precipitation step was often of higher apparent molecular weight anti had an increased overall absorbance coefficient.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPetroleum Science and Technology
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)457-467
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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