Download the full-sized PDF of Asphaltene aggregation and fouling behaviorDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Asphaltene aggregation and fouling behavior Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Derakhshesh, Marzie
Supervisor and department
Gray, Murray R., (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Gray, Murray R. (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Luo, Jingli (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Hegmann, Frank (Physics Department)
Zeng, Hongbo (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Deo, Milind (Chemical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis explored the properties of asphaltene nano-aggregates in crude oil and toluene based solutions and fouling at process furnace temperatures, and the links between these two phenomena. The link between stability of asphaltenes at ambient conditions and fouling at the conditions of a delayed coker furnace, at over 450 ̊C, was examined by blending crude oil with an aliphatic diluent in different ratios. The stability of the blends were measured using a S-value analyzer, then fouling rates were measured on electrically heated stainless steel 316 wires in an autoclave reactor. The less stable the blend, the greater the rate and extent of fouling. The most severe fouling occurred with the unstable asphaltenes. SEM imaging of the foulant illustrates very different textures, with the structure becoming more porous with lower stability. Under cross-polarized light, the coke shows the presence of mesophase in the foulant layer. These data suggest a correlation between the fouling rate at high temperature furnace conditions and the stability index of the crude oil. Three organic polysulfides were introduced to the crude oil to examine their effect on fouling. The polysulfides are able to reduce coking and carbon monoxide generation in steam crackers. The fouling results demonstrated that polysulfide with more sulfur content increased the amount of corrosion-fouling of the wire. Various additives, solvents, ultrasound, and heat were employed to attempt to completely disaggregate the asphaltene nano-aggregates in solution at room temperature. The primary analytical technique used to monitor the nano- aggregation state of the asphaltenes in solution was the UV-visible spectroscopy. The results indicate that stronger solvents, such as pyridine and quinoline, combined with ionic liquids yield a slight reduction in the apparent absorbance at longer wavelengths, indicative of a decrease in the nano-aggregate size although the magnitude of the decrease is not significant. Analysis of the spectra of the whole asphaltene samples in toluene indicates that the absorbance of visible light with wavelengths > 600 nm follows a λ-4 dependence. This functional dependence is consistent with Rayleigh scattering. Rayleigh scattering provides strong evidence that the apparent absorption of visible light by asphaltenes from 600-800 nm is not a molecular absorption phenomenon but rather a scattering mechanism. Rayleigh scattering equations were combined with experimental visible spectra to estimate the average nanoaggregate sizes, which were in a very good agreement with the sizes reported in the literature. The occlusion of two polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (pyrene and phenanthrene) in asphaltene precipitates was tested by adding PAHs to the asphaltene in toluene solutions, precipitating by n-pentane and determining the amount of PAHs in precipitates using simulated distillation instrument. Pyrene and phenanthrene, which are normally soluble in the toluene-n-pentane solutions, were detected in the asphaltene precipitates at up to 6 wt% concentration. Trapping of PAHs outside of the nanoaggregates during precipitation gave 7-14 times less of the PAHs in the solid precipitate. This study shows that asphaltene aggregates can interact significantly with PAHs. The results are consistent with the presence open porous asphaltene nanoaggregates in solutions such as toluene.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 7712900
Last modified: 2016:08:04 15:24:40-06:00
Filename: Derakhshesh_Marzie_Fall 2012.pdf
Original checksum: 9b3245143ccb1a078c413902002ec79f
Well formed: false
Valid: false
Status message: Malformed dictionary: Vector must contain an even number of objects, but has 13 offset=3969375
File author: Marzie
Page count: 194
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date