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Understanding the Role of Caustic Addition: A Comparison of Sodium Hydroxide and Ammonium Hydroxide Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Flury, Christopher T.
Supervisor and department
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Afacan, Artin (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Szymanski, Jozef (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Liu, Qingxia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
To understand the role of caustic addition and its effect on the bitumen extraction process, a novel flow cell and a Denver Cell extraction unit were utilized. This allowed for the comparison of sodium hydroxide and ammonium hydroxides effect on real oil sands ores. Several ores (A1, C-ore, SunP210) were tested at various pH levels in process water that was adjusted by either the sodium hydroxide or ammonium hydroxide. The novel flow cell allowed for viewing of the liberation process which showed that both caustics performed similarly in all cases. In the overall recovery, ammonium hydroxide increased the percent recovered greatly at the high pH of 11.3. This was due to several factors such as smaller induction times, a more hydrophobic bitumen surface, less negative zeta potentials and a decrease in the release of natural surfactants in ammonium hydroxide solutions. Overall, ammonium hydroxide was found to be a suitable replacement for sodium hydroxide.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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