Conference Dates

May 18-22, 2003

First Page



A variety of different fouling rigs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages is available to assess crude oil fouling. In this research, fouling of three crude oils are compared, using two electrically heated annular probes with strikingly different modes of operation. The Hot Liquid Process Simulator (HLPS) was operated in single-pass mode, under creeping flow conditions for time durations of a few hours at constant surface temperature. The Portable Fouling Research Unit (PFRU) was operated at velocities a factor of 250 higher, and followed the fouling process over two or more days at constant heat flux, using re-circulation of the crude oil. It was of interest to determine whether the two devices led to the same relative ranking of extent or rate of fouling, and exhibited similar responses to changes in surface temperature.

Two conventional light crude oils, and a synthetic crude oil derived from heavy oil were tested at average surface temperatures in the range 225-380°C, and bulk temperatures roughly 100°C lower. With the low velocity probe, typical fouling resistances after four hours were over an order of magnitude higher than for the high velocity probe after 48 hours. Fouling rates were two orders of magnitude greater in the low velocity unit. Some differences in relative ranking of the fouling potentials for the three oils were noted.