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An Experimental Study on Oil Sand Lump Ablation Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Pazouki, Mahshad
Supervisor and department
Sanders, Sean (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Yeung, Tony (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Masliyah, Jacob (Chemical and Materials Engineering-Emeritus)
Chalaturnyk, Rick (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Bugg, James (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The surface mining of oil sand ore requires the use of huge shovels and 400-tonne capacity trucks to transfer the mined ore to the slurry preparation plant, where water and additives are added to the crushed ore. The oil sand slurry is then transported to the extraction section and simultaneously conditioned through a hydrotransport pipeline. The term ″conditioning″ refers to oil sand lump reduction, bitumen liberation and air attachment. There is a tremendous economic and environmental incentive to reduce or eliminate the use of the trucks; thus, many oil sands companies are actively considering processes where the oil sand is conditioned and separated right at the mine face. Unfortunately, this would require an accelerated rate of oil sand conditioning over what is provided today by the relatively long oil sand hydrotransport pipelines used in the industry. This research is focused on the first step in the conditioning: lump ablation. The motivation for this study is the fact that any changes in the current conditioning method need to be supported by a fundamental understanding of the oil sand lump ablation process, because slurry temperature, initial lump size and temperature, pipeline diameter and length, slurry flow rate and shear stress influence the lump ablation. In this study, an experimental method is developed and the effects of slurry velocity and concentration as well as slurry temperature on the ablation of oil sand lumps are investigated. Artificial oil sand lumps manufactured with similar dry density to actual oil sand are used. Experiments were conducted using a 104mm pipeline loop built at Saskatchewan Research Council Pipe Flow Technology CentreTM where different slurry velocities (1 to 3m/s) and slurry concentrations (0 to 30 vol %) were achieved. Strain gauge technology was applied to measure the mass loss and drag force acting on the oil sand lump on-line and in real time. The results of the experiments clearly show that an increase of velocity or temperature increases the ablation rate of an oil sand lump. Slurry concentration does not have a significant effect on ablation at 45°C. A predictive model which relates the oil sand lump ablation rate to the surface shear stress and slurry temperature is proposed. The model was validated using the experimental data collected during this study.
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
1st Workshop on Pipeline Transport Processes, University of Alberta (June 2012)61st Canadian Chem. Eng. Conference, London, Ontario (Oct. 2011)1st Engineering Graduate Students Symposium, University of Alberta (June, 2010)

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