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Evaluation of the influence of polyoxide-based surfactants on the separation process of model emulsions of asphaltenes using the FTIR-ATR technique

Authors

  • Janaina I. S. Aguiar,

    1. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Laboratory of Macromolecules and Colloids for the Petroleum Industry—Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, Cidade Universitária, 21941598, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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  • Jéssica S. G. Neto,

    1. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Laboratory of Macromolecules and Colloids for the Petroleum Industry—Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, Cidade Universitária, 21941598, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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  • Sarah M. Almeida,

    1. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Laboratory of Macromolecules and Colloids for the Petroleum Industry—Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, Cidade Universitária, 21941598, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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  • Claudia R. E. Mansur

    Corresponding author
    1. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Laboratory of Macromolecules and Colloids for the Petroleum Industry—Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, Cidade Universitária, 21941598, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
    • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Laboratory of Macromolecules and Colloids for the Petroleum Industry—Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, Cidade Universitária, 21941598, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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Abstract

During extraction of crude oil, water is generally present in the oil. This water-in-oil (w/o) mixture undergoes turbulent flow that promotes sheer forces, resulting in the appearance of emulsions. These emulsions can be highly stable due to the presence of compounds with polar characteristics such as asphaltenes, which act as natural emulsifiers and form resistant films at the oil–water interface. Nonionic surfactants based on polyoxides are widely used to prevent the formation or to break down w/o emulsions. To shed more light on the destabilization mechanism of w/o emulsions promoted by these surfactants, in this study the techniques of tensiometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) were applied to study the interface formed by poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide) (PEO-PPO) block copolymers and asphaltenic petroleum fractions. Initially, the critical micelle concentration of the copolymers in aqueous solution was determined. The results agreed with those found by tensiometry. The bottle test was used to evaluate the break-down of the w/o emulsions in the presence of the PEO-PPO block copolymers, and the results presented good agreement with those obtained by tensiometry and FTIR-ATR. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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