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Determination of the Physical Properties of Oil Sands Components using Scanning Probe Microscopy

  • Ravi Gaikwad (a1), Tinu Abraham (a1), Aharnish Hande (a1), Fatemeh Bakhtiari (a1), Siddhartha Das (a2) and Thomas Thundat (a1)...

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy is employed to study the structural changes in the morphology and physical characteristics of asphaltene aggregates as a function of temperature. The exotic fractal structure obtained by evaporation-driven asphaltene aggregates shows an interesting dynamics for a large range of temperatures from 25°C to 80°C. The changes in the topography, surface potential and adhesion are unnoticeable until 70°C. However, a significant change in the dynamics and material properties is displayed in the range of 70°C - 80°C, during which the aspahltene aggregates acquire ‘liquid-like’ mobility and fuse together. This behaviour is attributed to the transition from the pure amorphous phase to a crystalline liquid phase which occurs at approximately 70°C as shown by using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Additionally, the charged nature of asphaltenes and bitumen is also explored using kelvin probe microscopy. Such observations can lead to the development of a rational approach to the fundamental understanding of asphaltene aggregation dynamics and may help in devising novel techniques for the handling and separation of asphaltene aggregates using dielectrophoretic methods.

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Keywords

Determination of the Physical Properties of Oil Sands Components using Scanning Probe Microscopy

  • Ravi Gaikwad (a1), Tinu Abraham (a1), Aharnish Hande (a1), Fatemeh Bakhtiari (a1), Siddhartha Das (a2) and Thomas Thundat (a1)...

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