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Flocculation and dewatering of kaolinite suspensions and oil sands mature fine tailings using dual polymers Open Access


Other title
Mature Fine Tailings
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Haroon, M Hasin
Supervisor and department
Liu, Qi (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Sharp, David (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Afacan, Artin (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Liu, Qi (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Choi, Phillip (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The development of a method to consolidate and dewater Athabasca oil sands mature fine tailings (MFT) is one of the major challenges facing Alberta’s oil sands industry. This thesis presents studies performed on the flocculation and dewatering of kaolinite suspensions (the major clay component in MFT) and Athabasca MFT using a combination of two polymers in series. The first additives used were a low molecular weight (LMW) anionic lignin-based polymer (lignosulfonate) and four LMW cationic cellulose-based polymers (Celquat). The second additive used was a HMW linear PAM based polymer (A3335). The performance of the dual polymer systems was compared to that of using A3335 alone. Performance of the treatments was assessed based on real-time monitoring of floc size growth and fines capture using a Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM) particle size analyzer, net water release, supernatant clarity, and capillary suction time (CST) measurements on the flocculated mixtures. A dual polymer system consisting of lignosulfonate as the first additive followed by A3335 was found to perform best for MFT flocculation and dewatering, reducing the CST of MFT by over 50%. A dual polymer system of Celquat followed by A3335 performed best on kaolinite suspensions. In both MFT and kaolinite suspensions, the dual polymer treatments performed better than single polymer treatment. The beneficial effect of lignosulfonate together with A3335 has been attributed to its ability to interact with the residual bitumen in MFT. The study shows that dual polymer flocculation poses considerable advantages over single polymer flocculation, and has the potential to be a viable method to treat MFT from Alberta’s oil sands industry.
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.
Citation for previous publication
Haroon, M. H., Tan, X. and Liu, Q., (2014), Flocculation and Dewatering of Clay Suspension Using Dual Polymer Flocculants, Paste 2014 Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, June 8-12, 2014.

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