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Demulsification of Water-in-Oil Emulsions by Microwave Heating Technology

Authors: Abdurahman H. Nour, Rosli M. Yunus, Azhary. H. Nour


The mechanism of microwave heating is essentially that of dielectric heating. After exposing the emulsion to the microwave Electromagnetic (EM) field, molecular rotation and ionic conduction due to the penetration of (EM) into the emulsion are responsible for the internal heating. To determine the capability of microwave technology in demulsification of crude oil emulsions, microwave demulsification method was applied in a 50-50 % and 20- 80 % water-in-oil emulsions with microwave exposure time varied from 20-180 sec. Transient temperature profiles of water-in-oil emulsions inside a cylindrical container were measured. The temperature rise at a given location was almost horizontal (linear). The average rates of temperature increase of 50-50 % and 20-80 % water-in-oil emulsions are 0.351 and 0.437 oC/sec, respectively. The rate of temperature increase of emulsions decreased at higher temperature due to decreasing dielectric loss of water. These results indicate that microwave demulsification of water-in-oil emulsions does not require chemical additions. Microwave has the potential to be used as an alternative way in the demulsification process.

Keywords: dielectric, temperature profile, Demulsification, emulsion.Microwave heating, volume rate

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