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A New Approach Toward Improving our Understanding of Electrically Enhanced Coalescence

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Coalescence rate data are presented for both well-defined water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions [different conductivity waters ranging from tap to reverse osmosis (RO) water dispersed in a light oil - Isopar M and stabilized with Paranox 100 surfactant] and “real world” crude oils using a 2-liter Teflon insulated electrostatic coalescer. The dramatic effect that changes in the electrical conductivity of two different light crude oils – Shell Brunei and Nigerian, have on increasing coalescense are demonstrated for A.C. fields at 1,000 Hz. while dispersed phase conductivity effects are shown for the same frequency and type using Isopar® M/water emulsions.

Resort to use of published analytical or theoretical treatments on electrostatic coalescence were unsuccessful in either explaining or correlating the data presented herein. An inspectional analysis of the charge transport conservation equations used to analyze static charge generation accompanying flow of hydrocarbon fuels, coupled with the accepted principles for two-phase flow was used to delineate the principal independent variables that coalescence rate depends upon. Dimensional analysis using the Buckingham π method and Langhaar's matrix formulation in the mass (M), length (L), time (T) and Charge (coulomb, C) formulation was used to show that the dimensionless coalescence rate is a function of seven independent dimensionless groups. For the fixed geometry employed herein and for Isopar® M emulsions, only the ratio of two dimensionless groups (i.e., π76) was needed to correlate A.C. data at 60 and 120 Hz with a regression coefficient, R2, ranging from 0.86 to 0.94. The physical significance of the groups are discussed and future studies are recommended.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2016

This article was made available online on 14 September 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "A New Approach Toward Improving our Understanding of Electrically Enhanced Coalescence".

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