Modelling wax deposition in oil transport pipelines

Dmitry Eskin, John Ratulowski, Kamran Akbarzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A model of wax deposition in oil-transport pipelines is developed. An analysis of heat and mass transfer in a turbulent pipe flow is performed. Wax deposition flux is modelled accounting for the temperature dependent wax precipitation kinetics. A deposit layer is considered as a porous medium with a variable porosity that changes as a result of wax molecular diffusion across the deposit layer. Wax solids are assumed to be in a thermodynamic equilibrium with a hydrocarbon fluid across the layer. Wax molecular diffusivity through the porous layer obeys the Archie law. Thermal conductivities of the solid wax and the hydrocarbon fluid, composing the deposit layer, are assumed to be different. The thermal conductivity of the porous material is determined by a correlation for a porous material. A deposit shear-removal phenomenon is taken into account. An equation of the deposit layer growth is obtained in an analytical form. Model performance is illustrated by calculations of wax deposition in a flow loop. The developed model is computationally expensive for modelling wax deposition in long transport pipelines. A simplified deposition model, based on analysis of numerical results obtained using the full model, is also developed. The simplified model performance is illustrated by numerical calculations of wax deposition in a long oil transport pipeline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-988
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Deposition
  • Heat transfer
  • Mass transfer
  • Modeling
  • Turbulence
  • Wax


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