Water is always present in liquid, soluble, free or emulsified form, being its origin in the composition of the feedstock or in the incorporation of water during the productive processes or transport and storage. High content of water can affect significantly the quality of fuels, allowing the growth of microorganisms that use the fuel itself as a source of energy. Some of the consequences of the microbiological development are the generation of sludge, the elevation of turbidity and the corrosion of tanks and mechanical components of motor vehicles. In this context, this research project proposes the development of high performance beds that use structured packings coated with hydrogels to remove water from liquid fuels such as diesel oil and biodiesel. The structured filling matrices will be initially produced in nylon (formed of polyamide) through Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). In a second moment, it is intended to use direct laser metal sintering (DLMS) technology for the production of stainless steel beds. The structured matrices will be coated with polyacrylamide hydrogels (PAAm), polyacrylonitrile (PAN) along with other polymers formed with sodium acrylate, acrylic acid and lactic acid. It is emphasized that, through the experimental planning, different models of three-dimensional structures will be tested for water removal improvements and pressure drop minimization. The determination of the physical and chemical properties of the hydrogel will be carried out by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), density, porosity and surface area, among others. It is expected that prototypes built can be incorporated into automotive vehicles, the fuel distribution logistics chain and oil processing refineries.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: