Mise en évidence de la polydispersité physico-chimique des asphaltènes
Evidence of the Physicochemical Polydispersity of Asphaltenes
Institut Français du Pétrole
2 Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
Afin d'élaborer un modèle thermodynamique capable de décrire la floculation des asphaltènes en s'appuyant au maximum sur la réalité physicochimique, nous nous sommes efforc
In order to develop a thermodynamic model able to describe the flocculation of asphaltenes according to their physicochemical properties, we have tried to give a better definition of the asphaltenes chemical structure and to show its influence on the mechanism of aggregation in solution. This work consisted in :- putting in evidence the physical and chemical polydispersity of asphaltenes;- studying simultaneously the nature and the localization of the chemical functions in the asphaltene oligomers (elemental analysis, analysis of the pyrolysed products, etc.) and their capacity to aggregate in solution (X-ray diffusion) to better understand the aggregation mechanims and to identify the functions responsible of this aggregation;- establishing a relation between the proportion of these functions and the size of the aggregates in order to take it in account in the thermodynamic model.The fractionation of a sample of asphaltenes with increasing quantities of n-heptane has allowed to separate different classes of aggregates. For each added quantity of n-heptane, the sample of asphaltenes has been separated in an insoluble fraction and a soluble one. The insoluble fraction contains the aggregates which firstly floculate. The elemental composition of each fraction has been determined by elemetal analysis. The pyrolysis in an open medium has allowed to break the aggregates in elementary patterns, the nature of the different patterns has been determined by liquid and gazeous chromatography. The size of the aggregates has been observed by X-ray diffusion.The results of this chemical characterization have shown that the initial sample of asphaltenes is formed by a group of oligomers having different elemental compositions and different chemical structures. The aggregates which firstly floculate, are the more aromatic and the richer in heteroatoms.The analysis of X-ray diffusion has underlined at once the physical polydispersity of the asphaltenes sample. It has shown that the aggregates which firstly floculate are the biggest in size.From this experimental set of data, it seems possible to describe the asphaltenes physical distribution in solution with a Flory's aggregation equilibrium for which the constant would be characteristic of their chemical structure.
© IFP, 1996