Interfacial Properties of Asphaltenes at the Heptol-Brine Interface

Chuntian Hu, Nicole C. Garcia, Rongzuo Xu, Tran Cao, Andrew Yen, Susan A. Garner, Jose M. Macias, Nikhil Joshi, Ryan L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water-oil emulsion is inevitable in the production of crude oil. Understanding the role of asphaltenes at the Heptol (mixture of n-heptane and toluene)-brine interface is of significant importance to deal with oil lost and the waste disposal. The effect of asphaltene concentration on the interfacial tension at the Heptol-brine interface at various times and temperatures (25.0-85.0 °C), as well as in the presence or absence of hydrophobic or hydrophilic silica particles, was tested using a Tracker tensiometer. A transparent quartz packed-bed microreactor with in-line analytics was designed to test the emulsion block in porous media. Experimental results show that the presence of asphaltenes and large hydrophobic inorganic particles in Heptol could stabilize the water in oil emulsions. The results could aid in the design of remediation to improve water displacement of crude oil in sandstone reservoirs and enhance the crude oil recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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