Flow Assurance of Waxy Crudes in Pipelines

Crystallisation and subsequent deposition of waxes in pipelines transporting crude oil, water is a long standing concern in the petroleum industry. Waxes may nucleate and grow at the pipe walls or may be transported while growing in the bulk. Propensity of the waxes to block the pipe cross-section depends on whether the crystals are in close enough proximity to touch, and perhaps, bond with the other crystals so that a space-spanning network, like that in a truss, can be formed. As a part of a project sponsored by ONGC, we are studying the general principles underlying the dynamics of wax crystallisation as well as crystal network formation. Similar situations exists in the foods, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and other industries. Particles upon crystallisation are used as rheology modifiers and play an important role in product performance. In all these systems, ways of controlling the number density, sizes and shapes of crystals are being sought. This is achieved by use of additives that either act as nuclei or participate in growth by the process of adsorption. Interested student would be participating in development of these general rules by which surfactant / polymers may adsorb and dampen further growth on crystal faces. The project would involve a combination of experiments, modelling and perhaps some simulations.

Proposing Faculty
Research Area
  • Microscopy
  • Molecular Simulations
  • Nanoparticles
  • Polymer Physics
  • Product Development
  • Surface Science