Structural characterization of asphaltenes and ethyl acetate insoluble fractions of petroleum vacuum residues

B. K. Sharma, C. D. Sharma, O. S. Tyagi, S. D. Bhagat, S. Z. Erhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asphaltenes and insoluble fractions of vacuum residues (VRs) of two Indian crude oils (viz. Heera and Jodhpur) of different specific gravity were obtained by precipitation of VRs in n-hexane, n-heptane, and ethyl acetate, and also by subsequent reprecipitation of n-heptane and ethyl acetate soluble fractions by n-pentane. The effect of various solvents on average molecular structure of asphaltenes and insolubles was studied using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). The asphaltenes and insolubles of Jodhpur VR have higher amounts of high molecular weight species with a high concentration of condensed and substituted aromatic rings, branched and/or short alkyl side chains, oxygen and nitrogen functionalities, compared to that of Heera VR. Ethyl acetate insolubles comprise a higher number of substituted aromatic structures, branched aliphatic structures, complex average unit structures, nitrogen and oxygen functionalities, and high molecular weight (MW) species as compared to hexane and heptane asphaltenes. Heptane insolubles consist of more naphthenic rings condensed with aromatic rings than C6A and EAI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalPetroleum Science and Technology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Asphaltenes
  • FTIR
  • Insolubles
  • NMR
  • Petroleum
  • SEC
  • Vacuum residue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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