Rheological characterization of distillate and residue streams obtained by centrifugal reactive-molecular distillation process

L. Plazas Tovar1, A. Winter1, M. Wolf Maciel1, C. Batistella1, R. Maciel Filho2 and L. Medina3

1Separation Processes Development Laboratory (LDPS), School of Chemical Engineering. State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Campinas-SP, Brazil
2Project, and Advanced Control Laboratory (LOPCA), School of Chemical Engineering, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Campinas-SP, Brazil

Keywords: centrifugal reactive molecular distillation; heavy petroleum residue; viscosity; newtonian behavior
property: dynamic viscosity
material: petroleum fractions

Centrifugal reactive-molecular distillation (CRMD), a process intensification via reactive and hybrid separations, was developed and implemented by LDPS/LOPCA/UNICAMP, sponsored by PETROBRAS/FINEP.

The objective of this work is to accomplish the evaluation of the CRMD process as alternative technique for processing petroleum residues and heavy crude oils due to its special operating conditions: lower pressure, lower temperatures, in situ catalytic reaction, shorter residence time of the distilled liquid over the thermally exposed surface, a sufficiently small space between evaporator and condenser surfaces and more intensive contact between the sample and the catalytic surface.

Experimental study is illustrated for an atmospheric petroleum residue (ATR-W 400 °C+) within the process temperature (evaporator temperature) range from 473.15 K to 523.15 K at feed flow rate of 1.473 Kg.h-1. The influence of adding catalyst at 1, 3 and 5 %wt was also studied. It was obtained 15 distillate and 15 residues streams by CRMD process. They were characterized through rheological measurements. The experimental measurements were performed using a HAAKE RheoStress 6000-UTC rheometer, with plate-plate sensor system constitutes by two (02) parallel plates (PP35 and PP60) of 0.035 m and 0.060 m, respectively. Transition between non-Newtonian and Newtonian viscous flow was analyzed by flow curves prepared using the controlled rate mode and at the shear rate range from 10 to 700 s-1.

Results of products from CRMD process were compared with characterization performed for products obtained from centrifugal molecular distillation process (CMD) known as a non-catalytic process. In this sense, products obtained from CRMD process were found to exhibit Newtonian behavior at 333.15 K (distillate streams) and 393.15 (residue streams) when compared to CMD products which exhibited Newtonian behavior at 372.15 K and 423.15 K, respectively. Nevertheless, results demonstrated that the components bearing a higher structural complexity are concentrated to the highest evaporator temperature (EVT), since the viscosity data increased as the EVT rises.

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