Physical and chemical characterization of Athabasca tar sands fly ash

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 820, 1980

C.O. GOMEZ BUENO, G.L REMPEL and D.R. SPINK, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario

A morphological and chemical study of the Great Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (GCOS) fly ash has been carried out. Extensive scanning electron microscopy, as well as light microscopy, showed that the GCOS fly ash consists of two fractions, one composed of unburnt or partially burnt irregular-shaped carbon particles and an ash fraction composed of transparent and opaque, often coloured, glassy spherical particles—some of them cenospheres (hollow spheres) and the othersplerospheres (hollow spheres packed with smaller spheres). Microcrystals (0.1 to 0.3 pm long) growing on the inner and outer surfaces of some of the spheres were also noted and found to contain more Fe, Ti, Ni and V than the spheres.The carbon-free GCOS fly ash particle size follows a log-normal distribution, with a geometric median particle size (by count) of 3.8 pm and a geometric standard deviation of 1.84.
Keywords: Mineral processing, Athabasca tar sands, Fly ash, Microcrystals, Size fractions, Environmental control