Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

A Preliminary Investigation Into the Characterization of Asphaltenes Extracted From an Oil Sand and Two Vacuum Residues From Petroleum Refining Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, DEPT, and MALDI-TOF

[+] Author and Article Information
Ce Zheng, Wenxu Zhou, Dongke Zhang

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

Mingming Zhu

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
e-mail: mingming.zhu@uwa.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received January 4, 2016; final manuscript received December 21, 2016; published online February 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Daoyong (Tony) Yang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 139(3), 032905 (Feb 06, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: JERT-16-1006; doi: 10.1115/1.4035746 History: Received January 04, 2016; Revised December 21, 2016

This paper reports the findings of an investigation into the molecular structures and properties of three asphaltene samples, namely, an asphaltene sample extracted from Buton Oil Sand (Indonesia), and two asphaltene samples extracted from vacuum residues from Liaohe Refinery (China) and Vene Refinery (Venezuela), respectively. The average molecular structural parameters, including the average polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) size, average side chain length, and average molecular weight (AMW), of the three asphaltene samples were estimated using data from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in combination with distortionless enhancement by polarization transfer (DEPT), and then compared against each other. The molecular weight distributions (MWDs) of the three asphaltene samples were measured using a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. The results indicated that the island molecular architecture predominated in all three asphaltenes and the average polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon size was found to be six rings. The average molecular weight of the Buton asphaltene sample was found to be ca. 800 Da while those of the two petroleum asphaltene samples were approximately 600 Da. In comparison, the Buton asphaltene sample contained a much higher level of oxygen and sulfur, but a lower aromaticity than those of the two petroleum asphaltene samples. The use of liquid NMR in combination with DEPT was shown to provide an effective method for characterization and estimation of the molecular structures of asphaltenes, supported by MALDI-TOF mass spectra.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

A schematic of asphaltene sample preparation procedure

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

1H NMR spectra of the three asphaltene samples

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

13C NMR spectra of the three asphaltene samples

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

DEPT-135 spectra of the three asphaltene samples

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Subdivision of the aliphatic regions according to DEPT-135

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

MALDI-TOF spectra of the three asphaltene samples

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Simplified molecular structural models for the three samples studied



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