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Home > History of Development > Technology Through Time > Oil Sands > Karl Clark Report

Technology Through Time

Karl Clark Report

The Bituminous Sands of Northern Alberta: Their separation and their Utilization in Road construction. 
by Karl A. Clark

Introduction

Clark, K.A., 1938.Investigation 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 province. 

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.

Development 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. [1922] Annual Report. With permission from the
Alberta Research Council
.

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