The droplet size distributions (DSDs) of crude oil emulsions are of prime importance because they are crucial in the stability and viscosity of emulsions. The conventional optical microscopy-based techniques are generally used to determine DSDs of oil-in-water (OW) as well as water-in-oil (WO) emulsions. However, optical methods have little or no success in providing the DSDs below the droplet size range of one micron. Therefore, non-optical methods such as electron microscopy-based methods must be employed. That is why, in this project, both scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technique will be applied on the imaging of crude-oil emulsions for the determination of DSDs in deep submicron range.
The proposed method herein will be applied on various types of emulsions so that fundamental mechanisms of emulsifications of crude-oil can be addressed. The outcome of the project will directly help the United Arab Emirates’ oil industry by providing higher resolution datasets on droplet sizes in emulsions, which can in turn can be utilized to improve treatment methods that already in use currently.