An easy-to-use Matlab-based computer program for prediction of n-alkanes surface tension

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Bahadori, A, Bahadori, M & Vuthaluru, H 2011, 'An easy-to-use Matlab-based computer program for prediction of n-alkanes surface tension', Proceedings of the SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, 25-28 September. ISBN 9781613991428.

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One of the most striking demonstrations of intermolecular forces is the tension at the surface of liquid n-alkanes. The prediction of surface tension is important in the design of distillation towers, extraction units and tower internals such as bubble caps and trays, since it has a considerable influence on the transfer of mass and energy across interfaces. Surface tension data are needed wherever foaming emulsification, droplet formation or wetting are involved. They are also required in a number of equations for two-phase flow calculations and for determining the flow regime. Petroleum engineers are especially interested in the surface tension in the extraction of crude oil to add surfactants to modify the interfacial properties between crude oil and the geological reservoir to improve production and increase oil yields. In this work, a simple computer program using Arrhenius-type asymptotic exponential function, Vandermoned matrix and Matlab technical computing language, is developed for the estimation of surface tension of paraffin hydrocarbons as a function of molecular weight and temperature. The surface tension is calculated for temperatures in the range of 250 to 440 K and paraffin hydrocarbons molecular weights between 30 and 250. The proposed numerical technique is superior owing to its accuracy and clear numerical background, wherein the relevant coefficients can be retuned quickly if more data become available in the future. Estimations are found to be in excellent agreement with the reliable data in the literature with average absolute deviation being less than 2%.