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Surfactant properties of corrosion inhibitors

El Moaty, Ibrahim S.


Ibrahim S. El Moaty


Paul D. I. Fletcher


Corrosion is one of the most common, costly and widespread industrial problems in the oil and gas production industry. Surfactant addition is one of many ways to inhibit the corrosion of metals, especially on hard-to-reach surfaces such as the inside of a pipe through which fluid is flowing. The application of small quantities of an inhibitor to production fluids is the most cost-effective method for imparting corrosion protection to a system. Despite the popularity of surfactants as corrosion inhibitors, their actual behaviour inside a pipeline is not well understood. The homologous alkylbenzyldimethylammonium chlorides CnBDMAC series is one of the most common corrosion inhibitors used in the oil industry. This thesis addresses some of the surfactant properties of these corrosion inhibitors which are not studied in detail (or often ignored) through electrochemical studies.

Firstly, the adsorption behaviour of these corrosion inhibitors at the air-water interface was investigated as a function of the alkyl chain length, temperature and the concentration of the added electrolyte. The surfactant chain length and brine addition were found to have a great influence on the adsorption behaviour and hence on the critical micelle concentration (cmc).

Secondly, the ability of CnBDMAC corrosion inhibitors to stabilize both oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions and the phase inversion of the emulsions as the inhibitor structure, temperature, electrolyte concentration and oil type change has been studied. The partitioning behaviour of C16BDMAC between an aqueous brine phase and an oil phase has been investigated as well as a function of electrolyte concentration.

Studying the adsorption behaviour of surfactant corrosion inhibitors at solid-liquid interfaces provides important information about their action mechanism, which in turn helps in improving their efficiency. The adsorption behaviour of CnBDMAC molecules has been studied as a function of the surfactant chain length, temperature and electrolyte concentration using the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) technique. The QCM technique provides an effective, easy to setup and
quick in-situ monitoring method for studying qualitatively the adsorption of surfactants at the solid-liquid interface. However, the determined adsorption isotherms were found to overestimate the amount of surfactant adsorbed. Therefore, the depletion method has been used to study the adsorption characteristics of CnBDMAC onto a stainless steel powder.

Pipes used in oilfields for crude oil transportation are mainly made of mild steel. Accordingly, it is crucial to understand the adsorption behaviour of these corrosion inhibitors onto the mild steel surface. The effect of surfactant structure, temperature and electrolyte concentration on the adsorption behaviour of CnBDMAC onto mild steel particles using the depletion method has been

In addition, the depletion method has been used to study the adsorption of CnBDMAC onto sand which is one of the main corrosion inhibitor consuming-solids encountered naturally in the oilfield. The adsorption studies performed revealed that these inhibitors have a strong affinity for sand particles, particularly at low temperatures and diluted inhibitor concentrations.

Finally, the corrosion inhibition performance of hexadecylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride (C16BDMAC) corrosion inhibitor has been investigated through the linear polarisation resistance technique as a function of the added sand amount. A model has been proposed and applied successfully to determine the percentage decrease in the corrosion inhibition efficiency of C16BDMAC with changes in the amount of sand added.


El Moaty, I. S. (2011). Surfactant properties of corrosion inhibitors. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Chemistry
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Chemistry, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2011


Thesis (18.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2011 El Moaty, Ibrahim S. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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