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Acoustic-wave sensor apparatus for analyzing a petroleum-based composition and sensing solidification of constituents therein

United States Patent

5,661,233
August 26, 1997
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
An acoustic-wave sensor apparatus and method. The apparatus for analyzing a normally liquid petroleum-based composition includes at least one acoustic-wave device in contact with the petroleum-based composition for sensing or detecting the presence of constituents (e.g. paraffins or petroleum waxes) therein which solidify upon cooling of the petroleum-based composition below a cloud-point temperature. The acoustic-wave device can be a thickness-shear-mode device (also termed a quartz crystal mircrobalance), a surface-acoustic-wave device, an acoustic-plate-mode device or a flexural plate-wave device. Embodiments of the present invention can be used for measuring a cloud point, a pour point and/or a freeze point of the petroleum-based composition, and for determining a temperature characteristic of each point. Furthermore, measurements with the acoustic-wave sensor apparatus can be made off-line by using a sample having a particular petroleum-based composition; or in-situ with the petroleum-based composition contained within a pipeline or storage tank. The acoustic-wave sensor apparatus has uses in many different petroleum technology areas, including the recover transport, storage, refining and use of petroleum and petroleum-based products.
Spates; James J. (Albuquerque, NM), Martin; Stephen J. (Albuquerque, NM), Mansure; Arthur J. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
08/ 621,929
March 26, 1996
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.