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Application of Dewatering Technologies in Production of Robust Non-Segregating Tailings Open Access


Other title
centrifugal filtration
solid-liquid separation
filtering centrifuge
oil sands tailings
composite tailings
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Moussavi Nik, Reza
Supervisor and department
Sego, David C. (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Morgenstern, Norbert R. (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Aubertin, Michel (Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering - École Polytechnique de Montréal)
Chalaturnyk, Rick (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Scott, J. Don (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Rajaratnam, Nallamuthu (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Joseph, Tim (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Geotechnical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
One of the current technologies used by the oil sands industry to reduce the volume of fluid fine tailings and create a dry landscape is production of CT (Composite Tailings) and NST (Non-Segregating Tailings). CT and NST are engineered tailings streams obtained by recombination of fines (MFT or TT) and coarse tailings (sand) plus a chemical amendment. If produced on-spec, the main advantage of CT/NST would be its improved dewatering behavior and rapid release of relatively clear water during the hindered settling and self-weight consolidation, while a majority of the fine particles are entrapped within the matrix of its coarser fraction (sand). Production of a robust CT/NST at a commercial scale has been a challenge for the industry. While CT/NST has been expected to be non-segregating when discharged, partial segregation and release and re-suspension of the fines has been observed following deposition. To produce a robust CT/NST and reduce its susceptibility to segregation, the yield stress of the carrier fluid (i.e. fines + water) must be enhanced. This can be achieved by increasing the solids content of CT/NST. The present research reviewed the different methods of solid-liquid separation and experimentally investigated the possible application of some of these methods for improving the quality of CT/NST. A major part of this research was focused on dewatering of MFT and using it as a component for making CT/NST. A batch filtering centrifuge was utilized to dewater MFT samples received from three different operators and the major factors affecting the process of centrifugal filtration were investigated. The resultant dewatered MFT samples were mixed with a mixture of sand and pond water to produce CT/NST with higher solids content. The depositional behaviour and robustness of the produced CT/NST samples were investigated using a flume apparatus. The flow profile and variations of solids content and SFR (Sand to Fines Ratio) were identified for each deposition test, also the yield stress of the CT/NST samples was evaluated using a strain-controlled viscometer and vane spindles. The results of this study indicate that using dewatered MFT promotes production of robust CT/NST streams achieved with lower dosage of chemical additives.
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
Moussavi Nik, R., Sego. D. C. and Morgenstern, N.R. 2008. “Possibility of Using Centrifugal Filtration for Production of Non-Segregating Tailings”. Proceedings of the First International Oil Sands Tailings Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Dec. 2008: 200 – 208.Nik, R. M., Sego. D. C. and Morgenstern, N.R. 2010. “Flow behavior and robustness of non-segregating tailings made from filtered-centrifuged MFT.” Proceedings of the Second International Oil Sands Tailings Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Dec. 2010: 319 – 329.

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