The development of a wax layer on the interior wall of a circular pipe transporting heated oil: the effects of temperature-dependent wax conductivity

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In this paper we develop and significantly extend the thermal phase change model, introduced in Needham et al. (QJMAM 67:93–125, 2014), describing the process of paraffinic wax layer formation on the interior wall of a circular pipe transporting heated oil, when subject to external cooling. In particular we allow for the natural dependence of the solidifying paraffinic wax conductivity on local temperature. We are able to develop a complete theory, and provide efficient numerical computations, for this extended model. Comparison with recent experimental observations is made, and this, together with recent reviews of the physical mechanisms associated with wax layer formation, provide significant support for the thermal model considered here.

Bibliographic note

Copy editing feedback from authors submitted on 15th October 2021.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Engineering Mathematics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Sep 2021


  • heated oil pipeline, wax layers, generalised Stefan problem, parabolic PDE, asymptotic limit

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