A DPD study of asphaltene aggregation: The role of inhibitor and asphaltene structure in diffusion-limited aggregation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Dispersion Science and Technology. 2017, 38 (3), 440-450. 10.1080/01932691.2016.1172972
The kinetic effects of DBSA (dodecyl benzene sulfonic acid) and a linear amphihile on asphaltene aggregation was investigated, using dissipative particle dynamics molecular simulations. The simulation results indicated that without inhibitor, diffusion-limited asphaltene aggregation can be initiated by a kinetic/diffusive capture process between polar side chain groups rather than by interaction between polyaromatic rings. The most likely reason for this is that the side chains have higher diffusive mobility than the more massive aromatic ring structures. The DBSA acidic head groups adhered to the asphaltene side chain polar groups (the basic functional groups), resulting in lowered mobility of the side chain/DBSA complexes, thereby suppressing asphaltene aggregation initiation. A more mobile amphiphilic inhibitor without the aromatic ring gave a higher asphaltene aggregation rate. Adsorption of asphaltenes on a solid surface was suppressed with DBSA, due to an adsorbed mono-layer of DBSA that occupied a significant fraction of the surface area.