Rate of bitumen film transfer from a quartz surface to an air bubble as observed by optical microscopy

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


The rate of bitumen transfer from a bitumen-coated quartz plate to a gas bubble surface in aqueous alkaline solutions was recorded photographically. During bitumen spreading, a bulk layer followed the formation of thin bitumen films (precursor films). The bulk layer spread at the bubble surface with a velocity of about one order of magnitude less than the velocity of the precursor film. The energy of activation for spreading of the bulk layer varied from about 66 to 123 kJ/mol depending on the stage of bitumen spreading but remained constant at about 105 kJ/mol for the precursor film. Results are discussed with respect to fundamental issues associated with flotation recovery of heavy oils.

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Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering