Asphaltenes constitute the heavy petroleum fraction responsible for deposition events that may lead to reduced oil production, therefore of great interest for flow assurance. These molecules self-assemble in solutions leading to formation of aggregates that eventually grow towards precipitation and blockages in reservoirs and pipelines. Based on the Yen-Mullins aggregation model, two complementary scenarios are involved in asphaltenes phase behavior: one called thermodynamic, in which interacting molecules and other species can be assumed to be in equilibrium, and a second one, involving interacting colloidal particles, both being described by different theoretical frameworks. For the first, molecular interactions can explain the experimental observations or theoretical models. For the second stage, colloidal forces such as those described by Derjaguin, Landau, Verwey and Overbeek (DLVO) theory, steric particle stabilization and diffusion or reaction limited aggregation processes might control the process. Our evaluation is that this second approach is underrepresented in the current literature. For this reason, this review focuses on describing evidences for the presence of colloidal particles in crude oils obtained with different experimental techniques, drawing attention to this important attribute and we raise a few questions that we believe must be addressed in order to better understand the contributions from colloidal aspects.
Phase behavior of didodecyl and dioctadecydimethylammonium bromide (DDAB and DODAB) in water was studied using X-ray techniques, differential scanning calorimetry and deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance measurements. Both surfactants self-assemble into lamellar liquid crystalline, either Lα (fluid) and Lβ (gel), phases. The gel-to-fluid phase transition temperature (Tm) in DDAB lamellae was found to be higher than that observed for its vesicles, due to the formation of a stabilized gel phase. In addition, the lamellar phases formed by both amphiphiles differ in their swelling degree and bilayer thickness. DODAB in water formed rather thin bilayers, if compared with the length of the tails, suggesting effective chain interdigitation. These bilayers also presented higher swelling degree than those formed by the shorter-chain homologue DDAB. We propose that these structural properties are strongly influenced by the electrostatic repulsive forces acting on the system.
Microbial consortia recuperated of crude oil samples from the Pampo Sul field, Campos Basin, RJ, produced biosurfactants in mineral media containing glucose and 9,10-dihydrophenantrene, n-nonadecane, nonadecanoic acid, slightly biodegraded crude oil (P1) or heavily biodegraded crude oil (P2) as carbon sources. The production of exopolimeric substances (EPS) and petroleum biodegradation do not necessarily occur simultaneously. The EPS analyses by infrared and eletronspray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) revealed a mixture of surfactine isoforms. The biosurfactants reduced the surface tension of water and Zinder medium from 72.4 and 55.7 to 28.6 mN m"1. Additionally, this surfactant emulsified different oils in water with performances similar to or better than of a conventional surfactant, Tween 80.
Durante o monitoramento de ensaios de biodegradação com consórcios microbianos recuperados de amostras de petróleo do campo Pampo Sul, Bacia de Campos, RJ, observou-se a produção de substâncias exopoliméricas (EPS) a qual ocorria independentemente do processo de biodegradação. Para potencializar essa produção utilizou-se um meio mineral enriquecido com glicose e 9,10-di-hidrofenantreno, n-nonadecano, ácido nonadecanóico, petróleo levemente biodegradado (P1) e petróleo severamente biodegradado (P2) como fontes de carbono. A análise dos EPS por infravermelho e espectrometria de massas com ionização por electrospray (MS-ESI) revelou uma mistura de isoformas de surfactina, que reduziu a tensão superficial da água e do meio Zinder de 72,4 e 55,7 para 28,6 mN m"1. Além disso, demonstraram capacidade de formar emulsões de diferentes óleos em água, com resultados até melhores que de surfactantes comerciais, como Tween 80. A produção dos EPS não foi inibida por nenhum dos substratos testados.