Sedimentation in Emulsions of Water Petroleum
- Edward Tipman (Research Council of Alberta) | Gordon Hodgson (Research Council of Alberta)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1956
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 91 - 93
- 1956. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.3 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics
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An appreciable number of the oil fields in Western Canada are accumulations of heavy black oils in more or less unconsolidated sandstones. When the crude oils are produced by conventional means, they are frequently contaminated with both sand and oilfield water. The water is usually present as emulsified water, and the sand and other solid material are suspended in the emulsions.
The presence of the solid material in the crude oils is troublesome and, in general, little is known about the behavior of suspended solid particles in emulsions. The Stokes equation describes the behavior of suspended particles in homogeneous fluids in terms of particle size, density differential, and fluid viscosity. In the case of an emulsion, particle size and density differential introduce no difficulties, but considerable doubt centers around the viscosity term.
For crude oil emulsion the Simha equation and the data presented by Fukushima and Ichimura show a non-linear dependence of the viscosity ratio on the water concentration. While it is undoubtedly reasonable to use these data for predicting the viscosity of a specific emulsion, and while it is equally reasonable to expect the calculated viscosity to predict the settling rate of a solid spherical particle in the emulsion by means of Stokes equation, there seems to be no direct evidence that this calculation is indeed sound for describing the settling rates of solid particles in emulsions of water in crude oils.
A direct approach to the problem was thus indicated. Laboratory equipment was designed and built for the direct determination of the rate-of-fall characteristics of solid particles in emulsions of water in oil. Although the apparatus incorporated the basic design of conventional falling-ball viscometers, the study was concerned directly with the rate-of-fall characteristics of particles in emulsions, rather than with the viscosity of the emulsions as such.
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