Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Mechanical Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 8991j.wong




671City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Campen, S and Smith, B and Wong, J},
doi = {10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b01887},
journal = {Energy and Fuels},
pages = {9159--9171},
title = {Deposition of asphaltene from destabilized dispersions in heptane-toluene},
url = {},
volume = {32},
year = {2018}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Deposition of carbonaceous materials, such as asphaltene, is a major problem in petroleum production. During production, changing environmental conditions destabilize asphaltene, resulting in dispersions that are out of equilibrium, where asphaltene is aggregating or flocculating. Key to developing the most effective strategies for tackling this problem is a fundamental understanding of asphaltene deposition behavior. A quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) is used to study asphaltene deposition from destabilized dispersions generated by in-line mixing of asphaltene in toluene (a solvent) with n-heptane (a precipitant). The effects of heptane:toluene ratio and destabilization time are investigated. At high heptane:toluene ratio, the rate of asphaltene aggregation is faster, and large flocs form by the time the flowing liquid reaches the QCM cell. In this case, the rate of deposition decreases with deposition time. At low heptane:toluene ratio, the rate of asphaltene aggregation is slower; hence large flocs do not form before the flowing liquid reaches the QCM cell, and deposition of smaller aggregates occurs. Here, the deposition rate is constant with time. The deposited mass is greatest before the formation of large flocs and at short destabilization times, where the particle distribution is furthest from equilibrium. Destabilized small particles existing immediately after a destabilization event pose a greater deposition problem than the flocs that subsequently form. This may be a contributing factor in the existence of deposition “hotspots” at certain locations in the production pipeline. Pushing destabilized dispersions to their new equilibrium distributions as quickly as possible may be a preventative strategy to combat deposition. The dissipation–frequency relationship monitored by QCM-D is sensitive to the nature of deposited asphaltene films and may be used as a diagnostic tool.
AU - Campen,S
AU - Smith,B
AU - Wong,J
DO - 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b01887
EP - 9171
PY - 2018///
SN - 0887-0624
SP - 9159
TI - Deposition of asphaltene from destabilized dispersions in heptane-toluene
T2 - Energy and Fuels
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 32
ER -