Effect of ultrasonic treatment on the destruction of stable oil-water emulsions

UDK: 665.614: 534.8
DOI: 10.24887/0028-2448-2021-2-96-98
Key words: model emulsion, petroleum paraffin, native oil-water emulsion, ultrasonic treatment
Authors: G.I. Volkova (Institute of Petroleum Chemistry, Siberian Branch of RAS, RF, Tomsk), N.V. Yudina (Institute of Petroleum Chemistry, Siberian Branch of RAS, RF, Tomsk)

Today, to increase oil recovery, waterflooding technologies are actively used. Emulsions that are formed when oil and water move along the wellbore and pipelines are especially stable in the case of oils with a high content of resin-asphaltene components. Therefore, the development of new technologies for the dehydration of highly resinous oil is very relevant; hence the optimal conditions of oil treatment are important for the use of physical methods of water-oil emulsion treatment.

This work deals with the study of the effect of time, temperature, and intensity of ultrasonic treatment on the stability of model and native emulsions. A mixture containing 80% of solution of petroleum paraffin in kerosene (6 % wt), 10 % of distilled water and 10 % of highly resinous oil is used as a model emulsion. The model emulsion is prepared by mixing the components at the temperature 20 °C for 10 min. The native emulsion contains 19% of formation water. Ultrasonic treatment of emulsions is carried out at the field frequency 22 kHz, intensities 2, 6 and 18 W/cm2 for 1–15 min at the bath temperature 0 and 20 °C. The consequences of ultrasonic treatment are evaluated by the amount of released water (‘bottle test’ method) and the water content in the oil layer (Russian National Standard GOST 2477-65). An AXIO LAB.A1 Carl Zeiss optical microscope is used for examination of the microstructure of emulsions. It is shown that a low-frequency ultrasound (22 kHz) promotes demulsification of the model emulsion at the optimal parameters of ultrasonic treatment: bath temperature 20 °C, time 10 min, field intensity 18 W/cm2. The maximum dehydration of a stable native emulsion (up to 3% of residual water) is achieved at the lower field intensity (2 W/cm2). Low-frequency ultrasound treatment may be used for the development of a very promising technology of the crude water cut oil transport.

Acknowledgement. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (Project No. 44.3.1).


1. Al-Otaibi M., Elkamel A., Al-Sahhaf T., Experimental investigation of crude oil desalting and dehydration, Chem. Eng. Commun., 2003, V. 190 (1), pp. 65–82, DOI: 10.1080/00986440302094.

2. Ezzati A., Gorouhi E., Mohammodi T., Separation of water in oil emulsions using microfiltration, Desalination, 2005, V. 185, pp. 371–382.

3. Diehl L.O., Moraes D.P., Antes F.G. et al., Separation of heavy crude oil emulsions using microwave radiation for further crude oil analysis, Sep. Sci. Technol, 2011, V. 46 (8), pp. 1358–1364, DOI: 10.1080/01496395.2011.560590.

4. Kovaleva L.A., Minnigalimov R.Z., Zinnatullin R.R. et al., Study of integrated effects microwave electromagnetic radiation in the field of centrifugal forces on the water-oil emulsion (In Russ.), Neftyanoe khozyaystvo = Oil Industry, 2017, no. 2, pp. 100–103.

5. Mordvinova Yu.N., Loskutova Yu.V., Vliyanie usloviy nizkochastotnogo akusticheskogo vozdeystviya na stabil'nost' vodoneftyanykh emul'siy (Influence of conditions of low-frequency acoustic exposure on the stability of oil-water emulsions), Proceedings of International Workshop "Multiscale Biomechanics and Tribology of Inorganic and Organic Systems", Tomsk, 2019, p. 756, DOI: 10.17223/9785946218412/521, URL: http://vital.lib.tsu.ru/vital/access/manager/Repository/vtls:000670596,

6. Ye G., Lu X., Peng F. et al., Pretreatment of crude oil by ultrasonic electric united desalting and dewatering, Chin. J. Chem. Eng., 2008, V. 16, pp. 564–569.

7. Ye G., Lu X., Han P., Shen X., Desalting and dewatering of crude oil in ultrasonic standing wave field, J. Petrol. Sci. Eng., 2010, V. 70, pp. 140–144.

8. Schoeppel R.J., Howard A.W., Effect of ultrasonic irradiation on coalescence and separation of crude oil-water emulsions, SPE-1507-MS, 1966, https://doi.org/10.2118/1507-MS.

9. Nii S., Kikumoto S., Tokuyama H., Quantitative approach to ultrasound emulsion separation, Ultrason. Sonochem., 2009, V. 16, pp. 145–149.

10. Nasiri H.G., Demulsification of gas oil/water emulsion via high-intensity ultrasonic standing wave, J. Dispersion Sci. Technol., 2013, V. 34, pp. 483–489.

11. Gardner E.A., Apfel R.E., Using acoustics to study and stimulate the coalescence of oil drops surrounded by water, J. Colloid Interface Sci., 1993, V. 159, pp. 226–237.

12. Yang X.-G., Tan W., Tan X.-F., Demulsification of crude oil emulsion via ultrasonic chemical method, Petrol. Sci. Technol., 2009, V. 27, pp. 2010–2020.

13. Antes F.G., Diehl L.O., Pereira J.S.F. et al., Feasibility of low frequency ultrasound for water removal from crude oil emulsions, Ultrason. Sonochem., 2017, V. 35, pp. 541–546.

14. Volkova G.I., Yudina N.V., Effect of resin-asphaltene substances on the stability of inverted emulsions, AIP Conference Proceeding, 2018, V. 2051, pp. 020323, https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5083566

To buy the complete text of article (a format - PDF) or to read the material which is in open access only the authorized visitors of the website can. .

Mobile applications

Read our magazine on mobile devices

Загрузить в Google play