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Visualization of Organic Coating on Bitumen Froth Fine Solids by PeakForce QNM-AFM Adhesion Mapping
5th World Congress on Petrochemistry and Chemical Engineering
December 05-07, 2016 Phoenix, USA

Qiang Chen, Murray R. Gray, and Qi Liu

University of Alberta, Canada

Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Pet Environ Biotechnol


The fine mineral solids in Alberta oil sands are associated with a significant amount of organic matter. These organically-modified solids cause serious problems such as hindering bitumen aeration and stabilizing water-in-oil emulsions. The study of these organic coating on the fine solids has been elusive due to the nanometer length scale and the unsuitability of sampling in high vacuum sample chambers. In this study, we apply PeakForce Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping (QNM) Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for the first time to study the organic coating on the fine solids extracted from bitumen froth. By PeakForce QNM AFM topographic imaging and adhesion force mapping, the mineral and organic components in the fine solids were distinguished due to their variations in shapes and mechanical properties. The organic coating on the clay minerals was clearly visualized on the adhesion maps, showing a patchy-distributed structure. Its surface coverage and average adsorbed layer thickness on the clay basal faces were 17 ± 6% and 1.4 nm, respectively. The organic matter associated with the bitumen froth fine solids, which cannot be washed off by toluene, was softer than the asphaltene fraction of oil sands bitumen. Keywords: Organic coating; Adhesion force; Atomic force microscopy; Clay mineral

Biography :

Qiang Chen is a PhD student in Chemical Engineering at University of Alberta. He has completed his Master and Bachelor in China University of Petroleum.