An Experimental Study on Oil Sand Lump Ablation

  • Author / Creator
    Pazouki, Mahshad
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • 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
    • Masliyah, Jacob (Chemical and Materials Engineering-Emeritus)
    • Yeung, Tony (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Bugg, James (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Chalaturnyk, Rick (Civil and Environmental Engineering)