Flocculation and dewatering of kaolinite suspensions and oil sands mature fine tailings using dual polymers

  • Author / Creator
    Haroon, M Hasin
  • The development of a method to consolidate and dewater Athabasca oil sands mature fine tailings (MFT) is one of the major challenges facing Alberta’s oil sands industry. This thesis presents studies performed on the flocculation and dewatering of kaolinite suspensions (the major clay component in MFT) and Athabasca MFT using a combination of two polymers in series. The first additives used were a low molecular weight (LMW) anionic lignin-based polymer (lignosulfonate) and four LMW cationic cellulose-based polymers (Celquat). The second additive used was a HMW linear PAM based polymer (A3335). The performance of the dual polymer systems was compared to that of using A3335 alone. Performance of the treatments was assessed based on real-time monitoring of floc size growth and fines capture using a Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM) particle size analyzer, net water release, supernatant clarity, and capillary suction time (CST) measurements on the flocculated mixtures. A dual polymer system consisting of lignosulfonate as the first additive followed by A3335 was found to perform best for MFT flocculation and dewatering, reducing the CST of MFT by over 50%. A dual polymer system of Celquat followed by A3335 performed best on kaolinite suspensions. In both MFT and kaolinite suspensions, the dual polymer treatments performed better than single polymer treatment. The beneficial effect of lignosulfonate together with A3335 has been attributed to its ability to interact with the residual bitumen in MFT. The study shows that dual polymer flocculation poses considerable advantages over single polymer flocculation, and has the potential to be a viable method to treat MFT from Alberta’s oil sands industry.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • 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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Chemical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Liu, Qi (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Choi, Phillip (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Afacan, Artin (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Sharp, David (Chemical and Materials Engineering)