EFFECT OF WATER CONTENT, TEMPERATURE AND AVERAGE DROPLET SIZE ON THE SETTLING VELOCITY OF WATER-IN-OIL EMULSIONS
Souza, W. J., Santos, K. M. C., Cruz, A. A., Franceschi, E., Dariva, C., Santos, A. F., Santana, C. C.
Braz. J. Chem. Eng.
DATA DE PUBLICAÇÃO
AbstractWater-in-oil (W/O) emulsions are complex mixtures generally found in crude oil production in reservoirs and processing equipment. Sedimentation studies of water-oil emulsions enable the analysis of the fluid dynamic behavior concerning separation of this system composed of two immiscible liquids. Gravitational settling was evaluated in this article for a model emulsion system consisting of water and a Brazilian crude oil diluted in a clear mineral oil as organic phase. The effects of water content and temperature were considered in the study of sedimentation velocity of water-oil emulsions. Water contents between 10% and 50 % and temperatures of 25, 40 and 60 ºC were evaluated, and a Richardson-Zaki type correlation was obtained to calculate settling velocities as a function of the process variables investigated. Water contents and average droplet sizes were monitored at different levels in the settling equipment, thus enabling identification of the effect of these variables on the phenomena of sedimentation and coalescence of the emulsions studied. The results showed that the emulsion stability during sedimentation was governed by the emulsion water content, which yielded high settling velocities at low water contents, even when very small droplets were present. A quantitative analysis of the combined effects of drop size and droplet concentration supports the conclusion that a stronger effect is produced by the higher concentration of particles, compared with the relatively smaller effect of increasing the size of the droplets.
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