On the Separation and Composition of Liquid Crystals in Athabasca Bitumen

  • Author / Creator
    Wang, Kejie
  • Hydrocarbon-based liquid crystal domains have been identified in unreacted heavy fractions of petroleum from Athabasca bitumen and other hydrocarbon resources worldwide. These liquid crystal domains have also been shown to transfer from the hydrocarbon-rich phase to the water-rich phase during SAGD production, and primary separation of mined bitumen where their composition is enriched relative to bitumen and inorganic constituents. In this work, liquid crystal rich material was further isolated from SAGD produced water that also contains dispersed drops of bitumen rich material mineral matter and clay among its constituents. The physical and chemical isolation methods are described and the outcomes are validated using cross-polarized light microscopy and chemical analysis, including: elemental analysis and Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) using a negative-ion Electrospray Ionization (ESI) source (heteroatom class distributions, detailed DBE and O/C ratio). From the elemental and other analyses, the liquid crystal rich material is shown to include humic substances (humic acid, fulvic acid, humin) among the principal components as these are the only categories of species known to be present that have high enough oxygen contents to meet the mass balance constraint imposed by the elemental analysis. Naphthenic acids and other potential candidate species do not have high enough oxygen contents comprise a significant mass fraction of the constituents.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 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.