National Research Council of Canada. Energy, Mining and Environment
bitumen; cavitation yield; CMC–water; KI solution; viscosity correlation
Among the different methods used for reducing viscosity of bitumen, acoustic cavitation during sonication is well recognised. Several chemical methods were used to detect the production of reactive species such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide during acoustic cavitation processes. However, quantification of cavitation yield in sonochemical systems is generally limited to low frequencies and has not been applied to bitumen processing. An empirical determination of the cavitation yield in mid- to high-frequency range (378, 574, 850, 992, and 1173 kHz) was carried out by measuring the amount of iodine liberated from the oxidation of potassium iodide (KI). Further, cavitation yield and the effects of different sonic operating conditions such as power input (16.67%–83.33%) and solute concentration on cavitation yield were carried out in KI solution and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose–water mixture to obtain benchmark changes in rheology and chemistry using these two model fluids. The findings were then applied to bitumen upgrading through sonication. Through this study, it was found that the chemical cavitation yield peaked with a sonication frequency of 574 kHz. It was also found that cavitation yield and viscosity change were correlated directly in bitumen and a 38% lower bitumen viscosity could be obtained by acoustic cavitation.