Petroleum Phase Behavior and Flow Assurance

Petroleum crude oil is possibly the most complex material that humans have attempted to study. Crude oil has an effectively infinite number of unique molecular species, and this complexity introduces challenges to study and characterize the properties of oil. The Hoepfner Research Group takes pride in our fundamental first-principles based approach to understanding the origin and mechanisms of crude oil properties and phase behavior. 

We have extensive experience in the characterization of heavy hydrocarbons. This includes experimental and modeling work of asphaltene phase behavior, deposition, and self-assembly. Our holistic approach covers the entire length scale of asphaltene and heavy hydrocarbon properties, from molecular interactions in the liquid state to their bulk behavior. 

X-ray and Neutron Scattering

The Hoepfner Research Group has in-depth experience and knowledge on materials characterization using X-ray and neutron scattering techniques. We have performed experiments at national and international research facilities and are familiar with laboratory (X-rays), synchrotron (X-ray), continuous reactor (neutrons) and spallation (neutron) radiation sources. Characterization experience of solid and liquid samples ranges from the atomic length scale (diffraction) to the micron scale (ultra-small angle scattering). 

X-ray and neutron scattering techniques remain the gold standard for structural characterization of soft, liquid and disordered systems. 


Scattering Facilities Visited:


Molecular and nanoparticle self-assembly bridge the gap between tailored molecular/colloidal properties and desired macroscopic behavior. We currently research the role of anisotropy on the self-assembly of nano and molecular building block.