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Clint P. Aichele, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Clint Aichele


Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Rice University, 2009

B.S., Chemical Engineering
Oklahoma State University, 2004

Major Areas of Research

Interfacial Phenomena
Emulsion Formation and Stability
Flow Assurance
Reservoir Wettability Alteration

Recent Research Activities 

Interfacial Phenomena
Our motivation in this area is to understand the fundamental mechanisms that govern solids partitioning at liquid-liquid and liquid-gas interfaces. We assembled a unique, high pressure interfacial tensiometer that is capable of performing interfacial rheology measurements at pressures up to 10,000 psia. Our work in this area has recently been focused on the impact of brine on solids partitioning at liquid-liquid interfaces.

Emulsion Formation and Stability
Emulsions are ubiquitous in life and industry, having significant applications in energy, agriculture, bio-products, and pharmaceuticals. Our current focus is on understanding the impact of silica nanoparticles on surfactant partitioning in water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions. Through the use of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance, we quantify transient droplet size distributions and elucidate stability mechanisms. The immediate application of our work is improved oil-water separation strategies with significant environmental and economic impacts.

Flow Assurance
Flow assurance challenges arising from hydrate formation, wax deposition, and asphaltene deposition continue to plague the energy industry. Our work focuses on hydrate formation in emulsions and the impact of nanoparticles and wax on hydrate formation. We combine molecular level understanding (through the use of nuclear magnetic resonance) with macro-scale measurements (bulk rheology) to quantify hydrate behavior.

Our work in separations focuses on three fronts: 1) viscous distillation 2) entrainment characterization and 3) high pressure gas evolution. We constructed an Oldershaw column to quantify the impact of viscosity on mass transfer efficiency. For entrainment characterization, we use phase doppler interferometry to interrogate dense sprays with the aim of developing improved understanding and strategies for dealing with liquid entrainment in gas-liquid systems. For high pressure gas evolution, we developed a unique experimental facility designed to quantify the kinetics of gas evolving from liquid hydrocarbons at high pressures (up to 6,000 psia).

Reservoir Wettability Alteration
We are developing new techniques to improve hydrocarbon recovery by altering reservoir wettability. We combine high pressure (10,000 psia) contact angle measurements with high resolution micro-CT measurements to interrogate factors that affect reservoir wettability.

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • Yegya Raman, A., Aichele, C.P., “The Effect of Particle Hydrophobicity on Hydrate Formation in Water-in-Oil Emulsions in the Presence of Wax,” Energy and Fuels, 31, 4817-4825, 2017.
  • King, B., Cai, T., Resetarits, M., McCarley, K., Whiteley, R., Tamhankar, Y., Aichele, C.P., “Characterization of Liquid Entrainment in a Counter Flowing Gas Using Phase Doppler Interferometry,” Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 121, 295-304, 2017.
  • Lavenson, D.M., Kelkar, A.V., Daniel, A.B., Mohammad, S.A., Kouba, G., Aichele, C.P., “Gas Evolution Rates – A Critical Uncertainty in Challenged Gas-Liquid Separations,” Journal of Petroleum Science and Technology, 147, 816-828, 2016.
  • Yegya Raman, A., Venkataramani, D., Bhagwat, S., Martin, T., Clark, P.E., Aichele, C.P., “Emulsion Stability of Surfactant and Solid Stabilized Water-in-Oil Emulsions After Hydrate Formation and Dissociation,” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 506, 607-621, 2016.
  • Venkataramani, D., Smay, J., Aichele, C.P., “Transient Stability of Surfactant and Solid-Stabilized Water-in-Oil Emulsions,” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 490, 84-90, 2016.
  • Yegya Raman, A., Koteeswaran, S., Venkataramani, D., Clark, P., Bhagwat, S., Aichele, C.P., “A Comparison of the Rheological Behavior of Hydrate Forming Emulsions Stabilized using Either Solid Particles or a Surfactant,” Fuel, 179, 141-149, 2016.
  • Aichele, C.P., Venkataramani, D., Smay, J.E., McCann, M.H., Richter, S., Khanzadeh-Moradllo, M., Aboustait, M., Ley, T., “A Comparison of Automated Scanning Electron Microscopy (ASEM) and Acoustic Attenuation Spectroscopy (AAS) Instruments for Particle Sizing,” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 479, 46-51, 2015.
  • Briggs, N., Weston, J., Li, B., Venkataramani, D., Aichele, C., Harwell, J., Crossley, S., “Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes at the Interface of Pickering Emulsions,” Langmuir, 31, 13077-13084, 2015.
  • Tamhankar, Y., King, B., Whiteley, J., Cai, T., McCarley, K., Resetarits, M., Aichele, C., “Interfacial Area Measurements and Surface Area Quantification for Spray Absorption,” Separation and Purification Technology, 156, 311-320, 2015.
  • Tamhankar, Y., King, B., Whiteley, J., Cai, T., McCarley, K., Resetarits, M., Aichele, C., “Spray Absorption of CO2 into Monoethanolamine:  Mass Transfer Coefficients, Dropsize, and Planar Surface Area,” Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 104, 376-389, 2015.
  • Olukoya, I., Bellmer, D., Whiteley, J.R., Aichele, C.P., “Assessing the Environmental Sustainability of the Production of Ethanol from Sweet Sorghum,” Energy for Sustainable Development, 24, 1-8, 2015.
  • Venkataramani, D., Aichele, C.P., “Concentrated Emulsion Characterization in Flowing Conditions,” Energy and Fuels, 29, 2801-2807, 2015.
  • Taha-Tijerina, J., Venkataramani, D., Aichele, C.P., Tiwary, C.S, Smay, J.E, Mathkar, A., Chang, P., Ajayan, P.M., “Quantification of the Particle Size and Stability of Graphene Oxide in a Variety of Solvents,” Particle and Particle Systems Characterization, 32, 334-339, 2015.
  • Tamhankar, Y., King, B., Whiteley, R., Cai, T., Aichele, C., “Aqueous Amine Absorption and Droplet Distribution Data for CO2 Capture Applications,” Energy Procedia, 63, 293-300, 2014.
  • Weston, J.S., Venkataramani, D., Aichele, C.P., Grady, B.P., Harwell, J., Resasco, D., “Pseudo-solid, shear-thinning gel formation in binary dispersions of metal oxide nanoparticles at low volume fractions,” Langmuir, 30, 14982-14990, 2014.
  • Olukoya, I., Ramachandriya, K.D., Wilkins, M., and Aichele, C.P., “Life Cycle Assessment of the Production of Ethanol from Eastern Redcedar,” Bioresource Technology, 173, 239-244, 2014.
  • Aichele, C.P., Chapman, W.G., Rhyne, L., and Subramani, H.J., “Characterization of Water-in-Crude-Oil Emulsions in a Complex Shear Field,” Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science, 53, 190-196, 2014.
  • Tamhankar, Y., Whiteley, J.R., Resetarits, M., Aichele, C.P., “Spray Droplet Characterization Inside a Glass Column Through Dense Wall Flow,” Atomization and Sprays, 24, 115-128, 2014.
  • Bapat, S., Aichele, C.P., and High, K., “Development of a Sustainable Process for the Production of Polymer Grade Lactic Acid,” Sustainable Chemical Processes, 2, 1-8, 2014.
  • Mathkar, A., Aichele, C., Omole, I., Hashim, D., Singh, N., and Ajayan, P.M., “Creating Super-solvophobic Nano-composite Materials,” RSC Advances, 3, 4216-4220, 2013.
  • Karpe, P., and Aichele, C.P., “Amine Modeling for CO2 Capture – Internals Selection,” Environmental Science and Technology, 47, 3926-3932, 2013.
  • Aichele, C.P., Chapman, W.G., Rhyne, L.D., Subramani, H.J., and House, W., “Analysis of Formation of Water-in-Oil Emulsions,” Energy and Fuels, 23, 3674-3680, 2009.
  • Aichele, C.P., Chapman, W.G., Rhyne, L.D., Subramani, H.J., Montesi, A., Creek, J., and House, W., “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Analysis of Methane Hydrate Formation in Water-in-Oil Emulsions,” Energy and Fuels, 23, 835-841, 2009.
  • Aichele, C.P., Flaum, M., Jiang, T., Hirasaki, G.J., and Chapman, W.G., “Water-in-Oil Emulsion Droplet Size Characterization using a Pulsed Field Gradient with Diffusion Editing (PFG-DE) NMR Technique,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 315, 607-619, 2007.
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