Prefouling Behavior of Suspended Particles in Petroleum Fluid Flow


1 Department of Chemistry,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2 Department of Chemical Engineering,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The production and transportation of petroleum
uids will be severely a ected by the
deposition of suspended particles (i.e. asphaltenes, diamondoids, paran/wax, sand, etc.) in petroleum

uid production wells and/or transfer pipelines. In certain instances, the amount of precipitation is rather
large causing complete fouling of these conduits. Therefore, it is important to understand the behavior of
suspended particles during petroleum
ow conditions. In this paper, we present an analytical model
for the prefouling behavior of suspended particles corresponding to petroleum
uids production conditions.
We predict the rate of particle deposition during various turbulent
ow regimes. The turbulent boundary
layer theory and the concepts of mass transfer are utilized to model and calculate the particle deposition
rates on the walls of
owing conduits. The developed model accounts for the eddy di usivity and Brownian
di usivity as well as for inertial e ects. The analysis presented in this paper shows that rates of particle
deposition (during petroleum
uid production) on the walls of the
owing channel due solely to di usional
e ects are small. It is also shown that deposition rates decrease with increasing particle size. However,
when the process is momentum controlled (large particle sizes), higher deposition rates are expected.