Application of taylor dispersion technique to measure mutual diffusion coefficient in hexane + bitumen system



A novel approach with fewer technical and analytic limitations in liquid solvent-bitumen diffusion studies is used in this article. The Taylor dispersion technique was selected for its convenient short run time experiments and reliable data analysis to find mutual diffusion coefficients in a hexane + bitumen mixture. For the first time, the infinite-dilution molecular diffusion coefficients of bitumen in hexane were measured in both the presence and relative absence of asphaltene particles in the solution at atmospheric pressure and temperatures of 303.15, 310.15, and 317.15 K. The polydisperse nature of bitumen was clearly revealed. Results were compared with common predictive tools. Also, the asphaltene surface charge in the hexane precipitating solvent was demonstrated. Through concentration dependency investigations at atmospheric pressure and 303.15 K, it was determined that the mutual diffusion coefficients monotonically decrease as the viscosity of mixture increases within the studied 0–34% volumetric concentration of bitumen. The Taylor dispersion technique shows great potential for diffusion studies of liquid solvent-bitumen systems. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 2670–2682, 2014