Wax deposition is a critical operational problem in crude oil transportation through pipelines in cold environments. Accurate prediction of the wax deposition is crucial for the efficient design of subsea lines. Wax deposition is a complex process for which the basic mechanisms are still not fully understood. Although Fick’s molecular diffusion model is considered by several authors as the leading deposition mechanism, it is shown that it does not represent well the wax deposition thickness, measured during the transient regime, in a simple experiment, in a rectangular channel, with a laboratory oil-wax mixture. Another important wax deposition mechanism identified is associated with the rheological properties of the fluid, since oil-paraffin mixtures shows a non-Newtonian behavior at temperatures below the fluid Wax Appearance Temperature. The mixture can be modeled as a Bingham fluid, with a dependence of the yield stress on wax concentration, temperature and rate of cooling. The present paper presents a numerical model for predicting wax deposition in channel flows considering the influence of rheological properties combined with a diffusion-based deposition mechanism. To determine the amount of deposit, the conservation equations of mass, momentum, energy and wax concentration in the mixture were numerically solved with the finite volume method. A nonorthogonal moving coordinate system that adapts to the wax interface deposit geometry was employed. The results demonstrated that additional deposition is obtained as a result of the non Newtonian behavior of the fluid. This trend is in agreement with experimental observation conducted in previous studies.

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