Experimental Investigation of Fe3O4-Chitosan Nanocomposite as a Nano-Demulsifier for Water in Crude Oil Separation

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 NanoChemical Eng. Dep., Faculty of Advanced Technologies, Shiraz University

2 Department of Chemical, Petroleum and Gas Engineering, Shiraz University of Technology

3 Nano Chem. Eng. Dep. Faculty of Advanced Technologies Shiraz University



Nowadays chemical and electrostatic demulsification techniques are typically used
to separate water-in-crude-oil emulsions. The need to improve demulsification
techniques has led to the use of various additives among which nanoparticles
have emerged as a novel alternative. Most of the exploited crude oil exists in an
emulsion state, where may cause serious problems during processing. Chemical
demulsifiers, bottle tests, and electrostatic desalters are commonly used to
separate water from crude oil emulsions but there are some issues involved with
these methods. Therefore, using new technologies like nanotechnology can help
improve the desalting process. First, Fe3O4 and Fe3O4-chitosan nanocomposite
were synthesized via co-precipitation method. Fe3O4-chitosan nanoparticles were
characterized by X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.
The results showed that ultrafine Fe3O4 nanoparticles were prepared and coated
by chitosan. In this study, Fe3O4 and Fe3O4-chitosan nanocomposite were utilized
to improve emulsion destabilization. The effect of different parameters on the
separation performance was studied and the best conditions were determined.
The results showed that the application of certain nanostructures in crude oil
emulsions improves the performance of demulsification up to 86% and decreases
the amount of demulsifier consumption in the desalting process.