Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Dominic Pjontek


Particle agglomeration in heavy oil upgrading may occur due to the formation of a secondary liquid phase, known as carbonaceous mesophase. This secondary liquid phase is denser and more viscous compared to the continuous phase and may cause operational challenges. The experimental system in this work consisted of biodiesel (continuous liquid), aqueous glycerol (secondary liquid), glass beads, and nitrogen in a cold-flow, non-reacting slurry bubble column. The effects of the secondary liquid loading, secondary liquid viscosity, and particle diameter on the fluid dynamic behaviour are examined. Overall the addition of a denser and more viscous secondary liquid phase was found to affect fluidization behaviour and result in particle agglomeration and eventual sedimentation. Three sparger designs were compared to determine their impact on agglomerate break up. Perforated plate sparger designs were found to be more effective at breaking up agglomerates and minimizing particle sedimentation when compared to the spider sparger design.