Interaction Between Graphene Derivatives and Asphaltenes in Crude Oil and Crude Derivatives
The chemistry of crude oil (SARA) and crude derivatives, and the percentage of asphaltene can vary significantly depending on external and internal factors such as the source and method of SARA extraction. If graphitic materials are introduced into a system such as SARA, it becomes an additional variable to a complex multi-phase colloid. Within the framework of this thesis, we focus on the phase stability and particle interaction between graphene and asphaltene in order to optimise the process of tailoring the microstructure of graphene embedded SARA systems, such as bitumen, to improve the gas barrier and thermal conductivity. We use various characterisation techniques in this thesis to observe the phase behaviour and the impact of embedding graphene derivatives such as GO to crude derivatives. Phase separation and agglomeration, within the SARA subfractions, were the main focus. The observations and results from the studies prove that GO is detrimental to the structure and functioning of SARA. After this observation, we attempted and succeeded in producing an fGO, that was able to overcome the challenges put forth by GO. The fGO formed stable structures, with other molecules in SARA.