Bitumen Liberation Dynamics

  • Author / Creator
    Primkulov, Bauyrzhan K
  • The minable oil sands extraction process can be understood on a scale of a single oil sand grain. When the oil sand ore is mixed with warm water, each sand granule is initially covered with bitumen film which ruptures under the composite effect of shear and interfacial forces, while water spontaneously displaces bitumen until the droplets reach their equilibrium shape. The dynamics of this process is known to be sensitive to the temperature of the slurry and chemical additives. Therefore, understanding the governing mechanisms of dynamic wetting is crucial for finding optimal operating conditions for oil sand extraction process. This work utilized modified micro-pipette technique to investigate bitumen droplet recession on micro-spherical glass surface. The dynamic shape evolution of the bitumen droplet was modeled with hydrodynamic, molecular-kinetic, and combined wetting models. The effect of water chemistry, temperature, and diluent addition to bitumen was evaluated in the light of dynamic wetting models. It was found that the work of adhesion along with the ratio of bitumen-water interfacial tension to viscosity were critical rate controlling parameters for bitumen displacement. The combined molecular-hydrodynamic model was further extended to wetting in capillary tubes, revealing possible enhancements to in-situ oil recovery from porous media.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.