Dispersed Fe2O3 nanoparticles preparation in heavy oil and their uptake of asphaltenes

Belal J. Abu Tarboush, Maen M. Husein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


A sol-gel/emulsion technique was used to prepare dispersed Fe2O3 nanoparticles in heavy oil and their affinity toward asphaltenes adsorption was assessed. The nanoparticles were identified using XRD and EDX and their mean diameter, 35 ± 5 nm, was based on TEM estimates. Kinetic experiments showed that for the in situ prepared and commercial Fe2O3 nanoparticles constant uptake is essentially achieved in the first 1 h, and DCM washing suggested mostly physisorbed hydrocarbons. The in situ prepared nanoparticles displayed much higher, 2.6 ± 0.12 g/g, and much more selective asphaltene uptake. Increasing the concentration of the in situ prepared particles revealed a declining trend in the uptake versus equilibrium asphaltene concentration. Experiments to explore the effect of preparation parameters showed that water did not seem to influence the hydrocarbon uptake for the commercial Fe2O3 nanoparticles, while heat treatment of the oil phase in the presence of the nanoparticles reduced their uptake. Centrifuging the nanoparticle together with the adsorbed asphaltenes did not reduce the viscosity of the oil phase or its sulfur content due to the fact that centrifugation removed only a small portion of the nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalFuel Processing Technology
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Adsorption
  • Asphaltene
  • FeO
  • Heavy oil
  • In situ
  • Nanoparticle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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