Experimental Investigation of the Centrifugal Effect on Demulsification of Water in Crude Oil Emulsion
The presence of water in crude oil emulsions presents some challenges during crude oil recovery and processing. Several methods are being used in the petroleum industry to break the stable emulsions into separate phases. This research is aimed at using centrifugation as a comparative means of breaking emulsions. Two synthetic water in oil emulsions with water: oil ratios of 50:50 and 30:70 respectively were used in the study. The 50:50 water- oil emulsion attained the water separation efficiency of about 61% which was higher than water separation efficiency of 57% returned by the 30:70 water-oil emulsion. The relative stability of the 30:70 was due to its relative lower volume of dispersed water in the continuous oil phase. The study shows that increase in the time of centrifugation (i.e., circulation period) agitates the emulsion more and hence more percentage of water droplets coming closer thereby increasing their rate of flocculation, coalescence and settling.