Karl Clark Report
Bituminous Sands of Northern Alberta: Their separation and their
Utilization in Road construction.
by Karl A. Clark
has been continued throughout the year 1922 of the ways and means of converting
the Northern Alberta bituminous sand deposits into an economic asset of the
It is apparent
from the experience of the past season in the construction in Edmonton of
bituminous sidewalks, that building pavements with crude bituminous sand is both
complicated and costly. The Edmonton sidewalk experiment support the contention
that the primary step in any scheme of commercial development must be in the
separation of the bitumen constituent of the bituminous sands from the sand
which constitutes the bulk of the deposit.
The opinion was
stated in the Second Annual Report that it would not be commercially feasible,
for some years to come, to manufacture bituminous sands substitutes for
such refined petroleum products as motor spirits and lubricants. Nothing has
come to light since to modify that opinion. Although evidence is against the
practicability of crude bituminous sand for building pavements, there seems to
be reason to hope that the case will be otherwise for the separated bitumen.
of Method of Separation
The attempt was
made to emulsify the bituminous sand's bitumen content by means of a soap
solution. When a sample of bituminous sand was shaken with a solution
(preferably a hot solution) containing one per cent or so by weight of soap,
emulsification did not result, but a separation of sand and bitumen could be
seen through the glass vessel in which the experiment was performed. Yet all
attempts to get the bitumen into one vessel and the sand into another became
involved in difficulty.
Alberta Research Council.  Annual Report. With permission from the