Acoustic-wave sensor apparatus and method for analyzing a normally liquid petroleum-based composition for monitoring deposition-point temperature. The apparatus includes at least one acoustic-wave device such as SAW, QCM, FPM, TSM or APM type devices in contact with the petroleum-based composition for sensing or detecting the surface temperature at which deposition occurs and/or rate of deposition as a function of temperature by sensing an accompanying change in frequency, phase shift, damping voltage or damping current of an electrical oscillator to a known calibrated condition. The acoustic wave device is actively cooled to monitor the deposition of constituents such as paraffins by determining the point at which solids from the liquid composition begin to form on the acoustic wave device. The acoustic wave device can be heated to melt or boil off the deposits to reset the monitor and the process can be repeated.
This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.