F-15 Crude Oil Fouling Case Study: Mechanism Identification and Mitigation

C. A. Bennett

Crude oil can foul by one or more of the following mechanisms: asphaltene adhesion, coking, corrosion, crystallization, insoluble gum formation, and sedimentation. Metrics available in the literature allow qualitative assessment of fouling propensity as a function of crude oil assay, fouling mechanism, and process conditions. Key metrics include crude oil sulfur content, total acid number (TAN), basic nitrogen content, oil compatibility numbers, colloidal instability index (CII), characterization (K) factor, and carbon residue. Chemical characterization of the fouling deposit can also suggest or confirm the mechanism(s) that led to the observed fouling, thereby focusing the mitigation strategies discussed in this report. A case study based on an HTRI fouling experiment demonstrates the application of these concepts.