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Computer vision based sensors for chemical processes Open Access


Other title
Bitumen-froth interface detection
Particle filters
X-ray view cell images
Computer vision
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jampana, Phanindra varma
Supervisor and department
Dr. Shah, Sirish (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Shaw, John (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Dr. Ray, Nilanjan (Computing Science)
Dr. Huang, Biao (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Dr. Yadid-Pecht, Orly (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Univeristy of Calgary)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The main area of research delineated in this thesis provides instances when Computer vision based technology has shown tremendous productivity gains in the Oil sands industry in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Specifically, the interface between Bitumen-froth (crude oil) and the Middlings (Sand) in separation cells (during the extraction process) is estimated in real time from camera video and used for automatic control of the interface level. Two original algorithms have been developed which solve the interface estimation problem using techniques ranging from image analysis, estimation theory (Particle filters) and probabilistic reasoning. These ideas are discussed in chapters three and four. The first chapter of this thesis discusses the broad area of Computer vision research as a knowledge basis for the current work. Computer vision (automatic image analysis) has been presented starting from the basics and culminating in advanced algorithms that are used frequently. The methods described in this chapter form the foundation of the work that follows in the subsequent chapters. After the introduction to automatic image analysis, a set of Monte Carlo simulation based methods called Particle filters are introduced in the second chapter. These Monte Carlo filters assume importance in the current work as they are used to derive one of the main results of this thesis. A large part of this chapter though is devoted to the introduction of the concept of measure theoretic probability which is used in proving the convergence of Particle filters. Another application of Computer vision techniques is also developed in this thesis (in chapter five) to treat the problem of automatic interface and boundary detection in X-ray view cell images. These images are typically used to observe liquid-liquid and liquid-vapour phase behaviour of heavy oils such as Bitumen in chemical equilibrium investigations. The equilibrium data would then be used to enhance Bitumen separation technologies. Manual tracking of the interfaces between these phases for different mixtures and conditions is time consuming when a large set of such images are to be analysed. A novel algorithm is developed that is based on state-of-the-art in Computer vision techniques and automates the entire task.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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