Phenomenological continuum theory of asphaltene-stabilized oil/water emulsions

2017-11-03T11:27:28Z (GMT) by Gyula Toth Juri Selvag Bjorn Kvamme
In this paper we use a phenomenological continuum theory of the Ginzburg-Landau type to address emulsion formation in water/light hydrocarbon/asphaltene systems. Based on the results of recent molecular dynamics simulations, we first calibrate the model parameters and show, that the theory produces a reasonable equation of state. Next, the coalescence of oil droplets is studied by a convection-diffusion dynamics as a function of both the surface coverage and the viscosity contrast between the as- phaltene and the bulk liquids. We show, that, besides the traditional thermodynamic interpretation of emulsion formation, the timescale of drop coalescence can be con- trolled independently from the interfacial tension drop, which offers an alternative, solely kinetic driven mechanism of emulsion formation.