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Process viscosity measurement Vs laboratory...

Process viscosity measurement Vs laboratory...

Process viscosity measurement Vs laboratory...

The process capillary viscometer has been the industry standard for over 40 years. It is an example of one of those instruments the industry knew it needed but couldn’t find and so developed it itself.
I have been working for some years now with a new technology and have a lot of success even in some of the most difficult applications and at last am taking the plunge and setting up in business for myself. To make myself a little more comfortable with this decision I am looking for information on process viscosity measurement in the oil industry. I am posting this thread in several of the forums.
Despite its survival for over 40 years, the process capillary has never reached all the applications that require viscosity measurement. These are processes where samples are still evaluated in the laboratory. As such they are not reported in market surveys so I am looking to see if you guys can help me out:
1) which applications still use laboratory viscosity measurement for control where real time online process viscosity measurement is desirable.
2) The process capillary is commonly used for such applications as Lube oil blending,Fuel oil blending,Lube oil de-waxing, Residual fuels, viscbreaker feedstock and distillate fuel product specification (to quote one of the capillary manufacturers). Are there any other applications where it is used?
3) Can anyone suggest pro’s and con’s for this technology?
What do you consider to be an ideal technology from all aspects of refienery operation e.g. maintenance, on stream factor (API 555), etc.

RE: Process viscosity measurement Vs laboratory...

I am not up to date on this subject but I did work on a project recently which may be of interest. Bitumen is recovered from tar sand and most of it is upgraded on site to a high quality synthetic crude. However some approaches under consideration, and possibly in service, cut all or some of the bitumen with a proportion of a diluent such as naphtha to meet a pipeline viscosity spec. Controlling this blend to meet a max vis spec while minimizing shipment of diluent could be an application. In some approaches the diluent is yo-yoed back to the extraction site, so it could be worth minimizing this recycle. Good luck with the business.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: Process viscosity measurement Vs laboratory...

Thanks for your input.
The technology I have been working with for the last 10 years is certainly capable of handling bitumens and is already used in The USA for Asphalt blending. It has also been used for bitumen/asphalt emulsions used for road surface dressing. The primary sensor has been adapted for some pretty difficult applications: as part of a towed sonar device for river mud and estuary work (providing density and viscosity data), and for down-hole applications (where they changed the electronics out for some that could survive the 150C temperatures and fit in a 2” string).
In the oil fields it has been used with crudes that required dilution with distillates to satisfy the pipeline pumping limits. This is pretty much like the application you mention even to the distillate coming back to the oil field by road tanker!
This precise application is one it will have no problem with but I haven’t encountered it before so thanks for the info.

thanks for the links. I know of both companies. However, like most of the newer devices they only measure dynamic viscosity. The refineries require analytical measurements (viscosity at a reference temperature) but like many other technologies these are good at behavioural measurements (viscosity at the operating temperature). Analytical measurement requires exceptional accuracy and both the dynamic viscosity and the corresponding density measurement. This is one of the reasons the process capillary has lasted for over 40 years, using direct methods (controlling the sample stream temperature) it measures the viscosity at a reference temperature. And yes, the process capillary also only measures dynamic viscosity and so is usually installed with a densitometer. It can be done but there are lots of problems.
Having said that, despite a regular trawl through the search engines with all sorts of key words, every so often I discover a new or at least, unknown technology so please, keep the links coming. I am keen to find out about the Endress and Hauser Coriolis meter solution, if any one has any data.

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