Doctoral Dissertations


"Data from the thermal decomposition of bitumen from Utah tar sands was obtained and analysed with both isothermal and non-isothermal chemical reaction models. The use of a power rate law to describe the complex kinetics of pyrolysis gave agreement with the experimental data that was approximate, but adequate for design purposes. The results indicated a reaction rate that was second order in bitumen content, with an activation energy of about 17 to 20 kcal/gmol.

Data for the boiling point distribution of the products was consistent with a change of mechanism from vaporization to pyrolysis as the samples are heated. Higher heating rates gave a lower boiling product, with less contained sulfur, arsenic, and nitrogen. A chromatographic study of the types of compounds in the product indicated that pyrolysis begins at about 350°C. Approximately 20% of the bitumen was found to form coke during pyrolysis. The size of the tar sand particles was found to have a small effect on the rate of weight loss for the particle sizes studied.

Calculations of reactor volumes and process flow rates for a proposed bitumen pyrolysis/coke combustion process indicate the feasibility of using the coke combustion heat as the sole energy source. Study of the transient temperature behavior of a reacting tar sand pellet indicated that instantaneous heating is a satisfactory assumption for particles small enough to have small oxygen diffusion limitations on the combustion rate"--Abstract, page ii.


Liapis, Athanasios I.

Committee Member(s)

Findley, Marshall E., 1927-1991
Crosser, Orrin K.
Poling, Bruce E.
Avula, Xavier J. R.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering


University of Missouri at Rolla. Department of Chemical Engineering
Phillips Petroleum Company
Shell Oil Company


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

Summer 1985


xii, 179 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 137-142).


© 1985 Charles Arthur Lechner, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Oil Sands
Pyrolysis -- Mathematical models
Oil sands extraction plants

Thesis Number

T 5215

Print OCLC #


Electronic OCLC #


Link to Catalog Record

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