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A study of high viscosity oil displacement from a curved solid in aqueous solutions

  • Author / Creator
    Li,Rui
  • The spontaneous displacement of a fluid in another immiscible one on a solid surface is essential for many technical applications, such as painting, detergency, bitumen extraction and enhancing oil recovery. This project was motivated by exploring a process of high viscosity bitumen displaced by aqueous phase over sand grains during the water-based oil sands extraction. For the experimental investigation, a microscopic control and image system was adopted to observe the microscale spontaneous displacement of high viscosity model oil droplets over highly curved surfaces in aqueous media. Relevant characterizations (e.g., the three-phase contact angle and the three-phase contact line velocity) were extracted via digital image analysis and the corresponding methodology was discussed in detail. The interfacial tension between the high viscosity oil and aqueous solutions, was determined by the drop shape relaxation method due to the difficulty of measurements using conventional techniques of tensiometry. The experimental results showed that both static and dynamic behavior of the oil displacement could be significantly changed by surface wettability alternation or surfactant addition. On the other hand, only the displacement dynamics strongly depended on oil viscosity, surface curvature, and droplet volume. An interesting observation of the dynamic droplet shape deviating from a spherical segment has been found to originate from the relative significance of the viscous stress to the capillary stress on the interface near the three-phase contact line. The quantitative data analysis using the generally accepted models of dynamic wetting indicated that the displacement dynamics could be controlled by different mechanisms at different stages, and additional mechanisms could be introduced by surfactant additions. The findings from this study are expected to improve the general knowledge of spontaneous liquid-liquid displacement as well as offer some practical implications to optimize the bitumen liberation process during industrial operations.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-5hdw-vt11
  • License
    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.