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Viscosity on Demand

Posted by David Nieto on Oct 13, 2015 11:30:00 AM

In VROC Technology, General Information, Viscometer

Offshore oil producers have long wished to have a magical remote control for the viscosity of crude oil. An ideal device like this will allow them to reduce the viscosity of crude oil for a few hours, while it is pumped through pipelines to onshore tanks, where it would be restored to its original thick and viscous conditions. Scientist R. Tao and X. Xu have finally cracked it! 

Using a pulsating electric (for asphalt or mixed-base oil) or magnetic (for paraffin-base oil) field, they are able to reduce the viscosity of crude oil for several hours. This method does not affect the temperature of the oil, which is another way of controlling viscosity. Instead, the electric (or magnetic) field temporary aggregates asphaltene and paraffin particles. The increase in the size of the particle aggregates leads to a temporary reduction of viscosity. As a result, this method is ideal for transporting oil through deep water pipelines over several hours.

If you would like to know more about oil viscosity measurements and applications, check out our webinar on oil viscosity!