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18 August 2005 Real time measurement of the refractive index of petroleum samples in a wide temperature range
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Emulsions of heavy oils in water are prepared to allow transportation of highly viscous oils over long distances. Their stability is currently assured by addition of surfactants, which cover the suspended oil particles with an electrically charged protective layer. The oil refractive index, which is related to the oil electrical properties, is therefore an important parameter in emulsion stability theory. In addition, as oils extracted from different wells have different refractive index, knowledge of the latter helps to identify oil samples. Basic principles and operation of an optoelectronic setup allowing real-time measurement of the real part of the refractive index (n) of heavy oil samples as a function of temperature (T) in a wide temperature range are presented. The setup consists of a CW laser beam which locally heats the oil sample (so inducing a time-growing temperature gradient and local deformation of the liquid surface) and an optoelectronic system which records as a function of heating time (t) the time-varying divergences of light beams reflected by and transmitted through the sample. As the latter cited are mathematically related to the refractive index value, function n(t) is thus experimentally determined. The sample temperature (T) is simultaneously recorded as a function of heating time (t) by means of a thermographic camera, thus obtaining function T(t). Combining both plots [n(t),T(t)] the function n(T) is determined in a few minutes in the whole temperature range.
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German Da Costa, Felix Mosqueda, and Juan Enrique Parra "Real time measurement of the refractive index of petroleum samples in a wide temperature range", Proc. SPIE 5880, Optical Diagnostics, 58800Y (18 August 2005);

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