Demulsification of Light Malaysian Crude Oil Emulsions Using an Electric Field Method

Erfan Mohammadian*, Tajnor Suriya Taju Ariffin, Amin Azdarpour, Hossein Hamidi, Suriati Yusof, Maziyar Sabet, Effah Yahya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The creation of oil emulsions due to mechanical strength and natural surfactants during production is undesirable. The challenges associated with transporting and refining oil have led researchers to probe into practical demulsification methods. An in-depth understanding of crude oil rheology and operating conditions to treat emulsion is necessary. The main objective of the current study was to investigate the rheological behavior and demulsification rate of crude oil emulsions. The rheological behavior of a crude oil emulsion was studied by manipulating its temperature (30 °C-90 °C), shear rate (0.1-1000 s-1), and water volume fraction (20%, 30%, and 40%). For emulsions of various water content, the rheological studies followed the non-Newtonian shear thinning behavior, which was explained effectively by the Herschel-Bulkley model. Experimental results also indicated that the measured viscosity of emulsion decreased significantly with temperature, while increasing water volume fraction increased viscosity. The rates of demulsification of water in crude oil emulsion in direct current fields were investigated under various conditions by using an electrochemical cell. The separation rate of water increased along with the applied field, water content, and salt concentration. Results of this study indicated that emulsion separation was governed by the magnitude of the applied electric field as well as the type of electrode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13247-13256
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number39
Early online date6 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


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