Effect of polymers on wettability of bitumen and on stability of bitumen emulsions.
The proposed research project is aimed at enhancing our understanding of interactions of several biodegradable low molecular weight polymers with the different components of aqueous oil sand suspensions. The work is designed to assess the effect of the polymers on a number of fundamental phenomena that govern several unit operations during oil sands processing and subsequent tailings disposal. It is expected that the systematic research studies proposed in this project should not only lead to new scientific knowledge but also to improvements in the current technology of oil sand processing and tailings management.
The proposed experimental program will involve analysis of the shape and size of air bubbles spreading and attaching onto bitumen surfaces while immersed in polymer solutions. This type of information will be collected using high-speed microscopy. A similar approach will also be employed to monitor the displacement and detachment of bitumen droplets from model mineral surfaces, chosen to represent typical solids found in oil sands. The ability of bitumen droplets to aggregate or disperse, and to form emulsions in the presence of polymers will be researched using laser light backscattering and transmission...To be continued.