Wax precipitation is a major flow assurance issue for petroleum production, oil blending, downstream processing, and oil products usage. While numerous thermodynamic models have been proposed to calculate wax appearance temperature (WAT) and precipitation profile at temperatures below WAT, the existing models are correlative in nature and fail to comply with phase behavior experimentally observed for wax precipitation. This work presents a predictive thermodynamic model for wax precipitation based on an explicit co-crystal formation assumption for precipitated wax, a treatment consistent with experimental findings. With a simple Flory-Huggins expression accounting for the liquid phase nonideality and the treatment of lamella structure for wax precipitation below WAT, the model satisfactorily predicts WAT at low pressures for multicomponent paraffin mixtures and wax precipitation amounts and contents as the temperature drops below WAT.
- Co-crystal formation
- Modified Flory-Huggins equation
- Solid-liquid equilibrium
- Wax appearance temperature
- Wax precipitation