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Characterization of Fine Solids in Bitumen Froth Before and After Hydrothermal Reactions Open Access


Other title
Hydrothermal reaction, bitumen, oil sands
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zhao, Jun
Supervisor and department
Gray, Murray
Examining committee member and department
Liu, Qi (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Zeng, Hongbo (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Gray, Murray (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
In this study, the mineralogy, surface properties, and morphology of fine solids in bitumen froth before and after hydrothermal reactions were investigated. It was observed that clay minerals such as kaolinite and illite did not go through significant mineralogical changes after the reaction. However, the siderite and pyrite contained in the bitumen froth were found to convert to pyrrhotite after the reaction. This conversion could be advantageous during direct hydrothermal froth upgrading as it fixes sulfur. The fine solids in bitumen froth were found to possess diverse wettability but they turned uniformly more oil-wet. Consequently, the fine solids lost their emulsion stabilization function as they mostly stayed in the oil phase. The filterability of the fine solids in the bitumen froth was also significantly increased, possibly due to a change in wettability and particle size. Therefore, hydrothermal reactions of bitumen froth can destabilize water-in-oil emulsions and facilitate fine solids removal.
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