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Understanding Al-PAM Assisted Oil Sands Tailings Treatment Open Access


Other title
Oil sands tailings
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Masliyah, Jacob (Chemical Engineering)
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Masliyah, Jacob (Chemical Engineering)
Liu, Yang (Environmental Engineering)
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Built on the established success of Al-PAM, an in-house synthesized, organic-inorganic hybrid polymer, for flocculation and filtration of fresh oil sands extraction tailings, this research is to understand working mechanism of Al-PAM, focusing on the effect of Al-PAM properties (molecular weight and aluminum content), tailings characteristics (fines content and bitumen content) and temperature on flocculation and filtration of oil sands laboratory extraction tailings. Based on fundamental knowledge established through this study, an appealing solution to fresh oil sands tailings treatment by filtering the sediment of flocculated fresh oil sands extraction tailings was proposed and tested. Al-PAM of higher molecular weight or/and high Al content was identified to be more effective in flocculating fines in oil sands tailings and hence filtration. Removal of bitumen from laboratory extraction tailings did not improve flocculation and filtration of oil sands tailings by Al-PAM. Effective flocculation of ultra-fines particles in fresh tailings was determined to be a critical contributor to outstanding performance of Al-PAM in flocculation and filtration of oil sands laboratory extraction tailings. It was also found that temperature (22 and 45 °C) had little effect on settling and filtration of laboratory oil sands extraction tailings. Filtration of sediments after flocculation of laboratory oil sands extraction tailings was found about 3 times more efficient than filtration of the entire flocculated tailings suspensions.
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