Abstract

The thermal conductivity and specific heat of reconstituted samples of Athabasca oil sands were measured at room temperature. The samples originated from the SUNCOR mining operation and varied in bitumen and moisture contents. Thermal conductivity was deduced from the dependence of the thermal resistance of samples on sample thickness, with the samples being held in a hot plate configuration.The values obtained for thermal conductivity are correlated with pore-water saturation and are compared to values of thermal conductivity calculated from a single-fluid model involving only water saturation. Good agreement with the single-fluid model was observed for bitumen-free samples; however, samples containing bitumen at low water saturation show higher thermal conductivities than those predicted by the single-fluid model, suggesting a significant contribution by the bitumen to the thermal conductivity of these oil sand samples.Values of specific heat were obtained by conductive electrical heating of oil sand samples and by relating the increase in temperature to the electrical power supplied.

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