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Stability of water-in-diluted bitumen emulsion droplets

  • Author / Creator
    Gao, Song
  • There are several technical challenges in large scale heavy oil processing. In the oil sand industry, for example, the existence of water-in-oil emulsion in diluted bitumen produced from froth treatment presents a great challenge to the industry. In this work, the effect of different bitumen components, including asphaltenes, maltenes (deasphalted bitumen) and indigenous naphthenic acids (NAs), on the stability of water-in-diluted model oil emulsion was systematically investigated. A biodegradable polymer was developed and introduced to break the water-in-oil emulsions. The stability of water-in-oil emulsions depends on the mechanical barrier between two approaching water droplets in model oil with bitumen components. The micron-scale techniques are used in this study to study the mechanical behavior of emulsion drops due to its priority to maintain the surface area to volume ratio which is representative of the commercially observed emulsions. Several parameters, including interfacial tension isotherm, crumpling ratio and probability of coalescence, were measured to understand the interfacial reheology. Based on these experiments, the mechanical properties of emulsion drops can be evaluated in situ. A non-toxic and biodegradable polymer, ethylcellulose, was used to break up the water-in-diluted bitumen emulsion. The demulsification mechanism was studied in this work. The knowledge from this work provides improved insights on molecular mechanism of emulsion stability/demulsification and contributes to the design of demulsification systems in industrial oil sands extraction processes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ZM14
  • 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.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Jacob Masliyah, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
    • Zhenghe Xu, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Tony Yeung, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
    • Suzanne Giasson, University of Montreal
    • Kevin Moran, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
    • Subir Bhattacharjee, Department of Mechanical Engineering