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Role of Bitumen Viscosity in Bitumen Recovery from Athabasca Oil Sands Open Access


Other title
Solvent-assisted extraction
Bitumen viscosity
Bitumen recovery
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zhang, Mei
Supervisor and department
Masliyah, Jacob (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Xu, Zhenghe (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Xu, Zhenghe (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Babadagli, Tayfun (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Masliyah, Jacob (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Viscosity, as a fundamental physical property of bitumen, has been studied extensively for the past several decades. By and large, nearly all the bitumen samples used in viscosity measurement were from hot water extraction processes that were further cleaned by solvents. A drawback of this approach is inevitably incomplete evaporation of solvent or losses of light ends of bitumen. Such a gain or loss can have a significant influence on the measured bitumen viscosity. To accurately understand the role of bitumen viscosity in bitumen recovery by water-based extraction processes, viscosity measurement of raw (solvent-free) bitumen is necessary. In this study, bitumen samples from good ore, artificially weathered good ore, average ore, and naturally weathered poor processing ore were prepared through direct centrifugation method. The viscosity of isolated bitumen at different temperatures and with different solvent (kerosene and naphtha) additions was measured. A correlation between solvent addition and temperature was established via viscosity measurements. Based on correlations established in this study, processability of oil sands was evaluated to identify the critical role of bitumen viscosity.
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