Abstract

Dynamic light scattering with an original optical scheme has been used for the investigation of opaque (strongly light-absorbing) asphaltene colloids in crude oils and hydrocarbon mixtures. Diffusion-limited aggregation and reaction-limited aggregation as well as a crossover between these two regimes have been observed. A simple interpolation for the crossover kinetics is proposed. Asphaltene colloidal structures, originally persisting in crude oils, have been detected. Addition of a precipitant above a threshold induces asphaltene aggregation. Depending on the nature of the precipitant, different crude oils respond differently on its addition: (a) exponential-in-time growth of aggregates to huge flocks or (b) fast formation of stable-in-size particles.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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