Resisting wear attack in oil sands mining and processing

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 90, No. 1012, 1997

R. Llewellyn, National Research Council Canada Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute-Western Laboratory Vancouver, British Columbia.

Wear damage is responsible for very high maintenance costs and significant production losses in the oil sands industry of northern Alberta. It affects all areas of operations and involves a panoply of wear mechanisms from low stress sliding abrasion at extremely frigid temperatures during winter mining, to elevated temperature erosion/corrosion in processes where bitumen is converted to lighter hydrocarbon products. There is no universal panacea to defend against such diverse attack and a wide selection of resistant materials and systems is employed. These range from relatively soft rubbers which rely on their elastic properties for their protective capability, to some of the hardest ceramics and cermets which are currently available commercially. Details are presented of the characteristics and forms of the variety of wear materials being used and how they relate to the requirements of their areas of application. The review focuses on the practices followed at Syncrude