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Fuel Processing Technology, 26 (1990) 25-37

Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam - - Printed in The Netherlands


Viscosity Data and Correlation for M i x t u r e s of B i t u m e n Fractions

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4 (Canada)
(Received June 30th, 1989; accepted in revised form March 30th, 1990)

A SR C BT A T A Cold Lake bitumen sample was distilled under vacuum into five fractions or "cuts". The viscosities of these bitumen fractions differ considerably by several orders of magnitude. The viscosity data over a 60-100°C temperature span are presented for several reconstituted binary blends of these fractions. The effect of temperature on the viscosity of the blends is correlated very well by use of a two-parameter correlation, with average deviations between predicted and experimental values of less than 3%. The validity of a recently proposed viscosity mixing formula, which does not involve any viscous interaction term, is investigated with the new binary blends viscosity data. Also proposed are generalized correlations in terms of the molar mass fractions, for the two parameters in the viscosity-temperature correlation.


In many aspects of oil-sands industry, such as reservoir simulation and pipeline or surface facilities design, the viscosity of the bitumen under consideration is an extremely important property. Due to the diverse nature of bitumens from the vast reservoirs in Alberta, the bitumen viscosity can vary considerably at any given temperature (and pressure). This diversity in bitumen viscosity may be attributed to differences in the bulk composition of the bitumens. Typically, however, bitumens are very viscous at reservoir conditions. Bitumen viscosity decreases dramatically with temperature [1-6] but increases significantly with pressure due to compression effects [7,8]. The addition of gaseous and liquid diluents also has a marked effect on bitumen viscosity. Several calculation methods for the viscosity of bitumens have been presentedein literature [2,7-13]. Recently [14], a two-parameter correlation found suitable for a number of Alberta bitumens [2,7-9,11 ] was shown to cor*To whom correspondence about this paper should be addressed.


@) 1990 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.

9 to 6.995 0.990 0.072 16.7 78. have also been correlated successfully with this correlation [ 14 ].0 50.2 1. a liquid-mixture viscosity calculation procedure is developed. It should be noted that this viscosity mixing formula does not involve any viscous interaction terms. Table 1 summarizes some of the properties of these five fractions. however.5 0.8 100.879 0. Finally. which requires only the proportions of the bitumen fractions and their molar mass to be known.0 30.26 TABLE1 Measured data and properties of Cold Lake bitumen and its fractions Sample Mass fraction of whole bitumen M (gmo1-1 ) Density (gcm -a ) Asphaltenes (mass%) Maltenes (mass%) Distillablea bp<550°C 582 209 310 667 800 2500 0.0 2.3 0.103 0. These binary blend viscosity data are found to be correlated well with the two-parameter viscosity correlation.5 47. new viscosity data for a number of reconstituted binary blends (mixtures) of the Cold Lake bitumen fractions are reported.283 0.7 0.0 100.0 67. In this paper.7 49. .941 0.000 0. Of the five bitumen fractions that were obtained by vacuum distillation [ 14 ].0 0. relate the viscosities of the five fractions (or cuts) of Cold Lake bitumen with average deviations from 0.999 1. Furthermore.0 Undistillable bp> 550°C 35. Cut 5. this generalized approach is evaluated for predicting the viscosity of the blends. as well as of the whole bitumen. as mentioned previously.1 20. The viscosity-temperature data for the five bitumen fractions.065 0. Cuts 1 and 2 were clear liquids whereas Cuts 3 and 4 resembled the whole bitumen. Based on these results. Viscosity-temperature correlation for bitumen fractions The following two-parameter correlation was shown to represent the viscosity-temperature variation for a number of Alberta bitumens with average deviation below 10% [13]. a viscosity mixing formula presented previously [ 14 ] is used to predict viscosities of blends.381 aSIMDIST analyses were provided in Ref.168 0. Cuts 1 to 4 contain little or no asphaltenes while approximately 50 mass% of Cut 5 is asphaltenes. (14).0 0. was a glass-like solid at room temperature with a softening point around 100 ° C. generalized correlations are proposed for the two parameters in the viscosity-temperature correlation in terms of the fraction molar mass. In addition.6%.5 whole bitumen Cut 1 Cut 2 Cut 3 Cut 4 Cut 5 1.

_~ "~0 102 101 100 . the one-parameter viscosity correlation may not be suitable for bitumen fractions. ~ i !!i!. each bitumen fraction is treated as one pseudocomponent. °C Fig. In other words.Eq~otlon (1) 1O0 200 300 TernperGture. the Cold Lake bitumen is approximated as a mixture comprising five pseudocomponents. eqn. from . Viscosity of mixtures of bitumen fractions For calculating mixture viscosity from component viscosities. less negative) for the heavier fractions. Most simple (additive) liquidmixture viscosity correlations can be generalized as [ 15 ]: 106 f]} (D 105 " . The parameter b2 in eqn.27 log[log (H+0. bitumen -. 7 4 to -3. A closer examination of the parameter values in Table 2 reveals that bl decreases as the bitumen fractions become heavier.e. (1) may be viewed as viscosity characterization parameters. (1) was found to vary within a narrow range of values. The viscosity characterization parameters bl and b2 for each bitumen fraction and the whole Cold Lake bitumen are given in Table 2. The values of b2 are higher (i.50. In modeling the liquid-mixture viscosity. The value of parameter b2 is noted to vary considerably for the five bitumen fractions. Effect of temperature on the viscosity of Cold Lake bitumen and its fractions. several liquidmixture viscosity correlations are available. Clearly.6303 for 7 bitumens over wide ranges of viscosity and temperature was proposed [ 13 ]. Based on this finding. Hence. . ~ ' " 13_ 104 E >~I0 3 . l. a single constant value of b2 = -3. Figure I compares the viscosity data and the correlated values for each bitumen fraction. +b~ log (T) (1) The empirical constants bl and b2 in eqn. for several bitumens.3 .7)] =b. (1) is capable of fitting the viscosity-temperature data in every case. It should be pointed out that each of the five bitumen fractions consists of a multitude of hydrocarbon compounds.

(2). and xi may be either of the liquid volume.7) x'M~/$~'-~'/~ i=1 (4) VISCOSITY MEASUREMENTFOR RECONSTITUTED BINARYBLENDS A total of twelve binary blends of the Cold Lake bitumen fractions were prepared by mixing different proportions of the individual constituents. 4 or 5. and l~ is the average mixture molar mass.7) = I~I (#i +0. The term x i ~ in eqn. the following viscosity mixing formula was proposed for the bitumen fractions [14]: log (/2+0. (2) assumes no viscous interaction between the various constituents of a liquid-mixture. eqn..28 n f(fi) = ~ Xi[(#i) i~l (2) where. x / . over a 60-100 °C temperature span. Mi is the molar mass of Cut i. using a Model RV8 viscometer from Viscometers (UK) Ltd. These blends were composed of either Cut 1 or Cut 2 mixed with either Cut 3. xi is the mole fraction of Cut i. Two different proportions were selected for each pair of bitumen fractions. (3) compared satisfactorily with the experimental data. with an average deviation of 38% [14]. The composition data indicate that most of the blends had substantially high mole fractions of the two lighter bitumen fractions. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Correlation of binary blend viscosities The viscosity-temperature data for the twelve reconstituted binary blends were correlated using the two-parameter correlation. Obviously.M ~ log (#. and occasionally ternary. mass or mole fraction [ 15].7) i=1 (3) where. (1). The temperature range and the number of viscosity data points for each binary blend are also given in Table 2. Other liquid-mixture viscosity correlations are also available in the literature but a majority of those involve some form of binary. (3) represents the geometric mean of mass and mole fractions of component i in an n-component mixture. eqn. The viscosity of each blend was measured at several temperatures. #_+1/3. 1/#. etc. In (#). log (#). Equation (3) in the anti-logarithmic form is: (/2+0. The bitumen viscosity predictions from eqn. After screening several choices for [(#) and xi in eqn. The results of . viscous interaction terms. +0. Table 2 provides the details of the blend constituents and the molar composition.7)= ~ x . f(#) may be #.

(1).Pcorrl/]lexp].95°C 30.1 1.29 TABLE 2 Viscosity-temperature data for Cold Lake bitumen fractions and blends and their correlation with eqn.603 0. Hence.9338 -3.9575 -3.7535 -4. of points 20 29 23 22 20 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut 1/Cut 1/Cut 1/Cut 1/Cut 1/Cut 1/Cut 2/Cut 2/Cut 2/Cut 2/Cut 2/Cut 2/Cut 3) 3) 4) 4) 5) 5) 3) 3) 4) 4) 5) 5) 23 21 21 11 14 23 21 24 26 24 14 23 Temperature range 24-121°C 22.9914 -3.0932 -4.902 0.1 6.3338 -3. N bAAD= (1/N)~ [ [~exp-. Figure 2 shows the viscosity data for Cuts 1 and 4 and their two blends (Blends 3 and 4 in Table 2).9 Whole Bitumen Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut 1 2 3 4 5 Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend Blend ax: Mole fraction of lighter fraction. is added incrementally to a heavier fraction.3.95°C 80-130°C 23.3647 10.5 1.8770 4.8220 -3.9007 9.8943 8.381 0. such as Cut 1 or 2.585 0. with average deviation consistently under 3%.3 1.6535 10.1573 -3.0623 10. Liquid-mixture viscosity predictions for binary blends When a lighter fraction of bitumen.2 2.6244 11.4535 10.9527 -3.4 2.4209 -4.4 1. bitumen fractions and the blends of the bitumen fractions. (1) is remarkable.792 0.1451 11.6 1.2120 10.8 2.6 1. these regression calculations are given in Table 2.90°C xa b.2690 -3.9592 10.95°C 23. The viscosity change during .4281 -4.7 2.8638 10.90°C 21.974 9.937 0.5 2. The broken curves for the two blends represent the viscosity predictions by use of generalized parameters which will be discussed later.3.95°C 38.0422 . b2 AAD b (% ) 0.95°C 30.1941 8.90°C 21.3 0.4068 .4476 9. the two-parameter viscosity correlation can be used to describe the effect of temperature on the viscosity of whole bitumens.669 0.9679 10.9617 -4.8061 -3.95°C 22. The solid curves in Fig. The fit for each blend using eqn.2127 -3.9 1. 2 represent the viscosities correlated by using eqn.0358 -3.3 3.90°C 26= 100 ° C 30-106°C 120-210°C 30. (1) Sample No.3078 10.65°C 60. a gradual reduction in the viscosity of the heavier fraction will take place.94°C 30.678 0.900 0.6 1. such as Cut 3.3065 9.683 0.841 0.8 1. 4 or 5.8916 8.95°C 30.

However.7. 1O0 40 60 80 120 T e m p e r e t u r e . When Cut 4 is diluted with Cut 1 in a "dilution" experiment at 25 ° C. and their two reconstituted binary blends.6 mPa s ultimately.000 m P a s to approach 4.000 mPa s and 4. Viscosities of Cuts I and 4. for several binary mixtures followed by regressing the parameters b~ and b2 for each mixture from eqn. (3). eqn. At 25 ° C. the bl and b2 values for a liquid-mixture cannot be determined explicitly from eqn. To study such simulated "dilution" experiments by using eqn. . This is more pronounced for the results with the heavier bitumen fractions.000. (3). over a range of temperatures. the viscosities of Cuts 4 and 1 are 937. especially Cut 5. In these calculations. a ratio of approximately 200. several sets of viscosity calculations were made at an arbitrarily selected temperature of 100 ° C. 3. for example.Equation (1) ~ t i o n s ' ( 5 ) and (6) ' ' E 103 ~ 10 2 101 100 ~ 20 -. (1). such "dilution" experiments with bitumen fractions may span several orders of magnitude. This was accomplished by calculating viscosity values from eqn. the viscosity of Cut 4 will decrease from 937. 2.6 mPa s. The logarithm of mixture viscosity decreases rapidly once the mole fraction of Cut 1 is greater than about 0. (3). (3). Parameters bl and b2 for binary mixtures Any binary mixture of bitumen fractions would have a unique set of the viscosity characterization parameters bl and b2 for describing the effect of temperature on its viscosity. and the results are shown in Fig. The liquid-mixture viscosity results presented below were obtained from a large number of calculations involving the viscosity mixing formula. respectively. Cut 1 was mixed with each of the four heavier bitumen fractions.30 106 10 5 10 4 n 0 Cu'st ' [] Blends ~_ -.5-0. °C Fig.

0 I I _ _ I I 0. 3.6 0. are shown as hollow symbols in Fig. the bt curves pass through a minimum before increasing sharply to the bl value for Cut 1. with viscosities calculated from eqn. The trends for bl of the heavier bitumen fractions are very interesting. 5 give a "phase space" representation of the viscosity characterization parameters bl and b2. Here. This implies that the viscosity characterization parameters for binary mixtures cannot be obtained by a simple interpolation procedure. and these appear to fall on a straight line. 5. The average deviations are generally . Influenceof Cut 1 on the predictedviscosityof binary mixturesat 100°C. As the mole fraction of Cut 1 is increased. an increasing influence of the lighter fraction (Cut 1 ) at its higher concentrations is more clearly evident. Table 2. 4 for binary mixtures of Cut 1 and each of the other four bitumen fractions.4 0. The results in Fig. The predicted loci for the parameters of binary mixtures of bitumen fractions are shown by the curves connecting the filled circles. These experimental data for the reconstituted blends lie below and to the left of the points for the individual fractions. The effect of mixture composition on the values of bl and b2 is shown in Fig. 5 correspond to the parameter values for the five bitumen fractions.Cut 1/Cut 2 mixtures 100 0. Blend viscosity predictions using empirical parameters The results for the twelve binary blends.31 107 106 i i i i mixtures 03 E) 105 o_ E 104 4_a 103 > (O b3 Oil 1/Cut4mixtures ~e s 102 101 . Note that these curves do deviate considerably from the straight lines that would connect the filled circles denoting the bitumen fractions. (3). are summarized in Table 3.0 Mole Fraction of Cut 1 Fig.8 .2 0. The filled circles in Fig. The parameters for the twelve binary blends.

0 0.5 I I Cut 1/Cut 5 Cut 1 / C u t .0 -3.5 Cut 1/Cut 3 Cut 1/Cut 2 i i i i -5. b2 -..2 0. Effect of Cut 1 on the parameters b~ and b2 for binary mixtures.6 0.. 5. Data and "phase space" representation for the parameters b~ and b2 of binary blends. 4. Equation (3) --5 I I 8 9 10 11 12 bl Fig..t c°. Cut 1/Cut 5 J I I 8 -3. -3 \X. 0.o -4. o co~ l~/Cut ~ ~i~n~s \\'~ Cut Z ~. . Cut 1 "%- z~ Cut 1/Cut 5 blends v Cut 2/Cut 3 blends o Cut 2 / C u t . blends ® Cut 2/Cut 5 blends --Predicted.0 Mole F r a c t i o n o f C u t 1 Fig.ts [] Cut 1/Cut 3 blends -~~3 \\\'% "~.8 1.32 12 Cut 1/Cut 2 Cut 1/Cut 3 bl lo 9 Cut 1 / C u t . b2_4 • c.0 0..

As mentioned previously.86 aAVR= ( I / N ) ~.42 0.2014 8.nevertheless.10 1.39 0.e.5992 10. In Fig.1054 -4.20 0.1592 -3.3968 10.85 0.6972 -4.Cuts i and 2). there is a strong evidence of .4450 10.76 0. Table 3. (/~o.Most blend viscositypredictions.55 1.6426 11.8473 -3.98 10.8048 8. are within an order of magnitude of the viscosity data.4581 -4.1911 -3.0858 -4.5230 10.94 0.6683 8.7839 10. (5) and (6) bl AVR" Whole Bitumen Cut 1 Cut 2 Cut 3 Cut 4 Cut 5 b2 . the predicted parameters in this region of high mole fraction of the lighter cuts would be quite sensitive to the composition.1258 A VR 1. Obviously.91 0.4239 -4.8447 0.2194 10.33 0.generalized parameters Sample parameters Empiricallydetermined (Table2) Parameters from eqns. the parameter values were shown to undergo significant changes in the region where the concentration of the lighterfraction is high.65 1. given in Table 1.Empirically determinedparametersvs. and the two parameters. 4.3471 10.44 0. The match between the viscosity data and predictions.61 0.54 1.9624 -3.96 0.9783 Blend 1 Blend 2 Blend 3 Blend 4 Blend 5 Blend 6 Blend 7 Blend 8 Blend 9 Blend 10 Blend 11 Blend 12 (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut (Cut 1/Cut 3) 1/Cut3) 1/Cut 4) 1/Cut 4) 1/Cut5) 1/Cut 5) 2/Cut 3) 2/Cut 3) 2/Cut 4) 2/Cut 4) 2/Cut 5) 2/Cut 5) N 1.4452 10. A small experimental error in preparing the reconstituted blends would correspond to a large change in the predicted parameters.33 TABLE3 Predictionof viscosity-temperature forblendsof Cold Lake bitumen fractions data usingeqn.0075 -4.p).4476 -3. large.9381 -4.83 1.48 0. almost all of the twelve blends had contained relativelylarge mole fraction of the lighterfractions (i.59 1.0293 10. 6.8636 9.22 1.42 0.31 0.0215 -4.0309 -4.72 0. are plotted in Fig.53 0.2307 11.2720 -3. Generalization of viscosity characterization parameters The bitumen fraction molar mass. (3) -.62 - 9.22 0.52 0./~.98 0. In other words.8619 9. listed in Table 2.2124 -4.3118 -3.64 1.3. is generally better for the blends containing lower concentration of the lighterfractions.20 18.

i . 6.20 (predictions within one order of magnitude) and a phenomenal 18. . bl =17. . . Although the statistical correlation between the parameters and the fraction molar mass is quite good with r 2 > 0. 6. . Apparently.458 log (M) (5) (6) Equations 5 and 6 are plotted as the solid lines in Fig.53 (over one order of magnitude deviation). . g / m o l 1 ~4 -5 Fig. a correlation between molar mass and the two parameters. similar data on more bitumen fractions are needed to provide further confidence in the generalized correlations./~ / > -5 Cut 5 ~ ' ~ u t 4 -4 b 2 i i i i i i i l l i i i i i i ii 102 103 Molar Moss. . Blend viscositypredictions using generalized parameters The predicted values of the parameters for the twelve binary blends along with the AVR values are also provided in Table 3. A first order regression gave the following generalized correlations. . The results in Table 3 show that the average viscosity ratio (AVR) for bitumen fractions ranges between 0. . . . (5) and (6) for calculating the viscosity of bitumen fractions did not produce very satisfactory results. For Blends 3 and 4. the viscosity predictions using the generalized parameters are plotted as broken curves in Fig. The average viscosity ratios are no worse than those obtained with the empirically determined parameters in Table 2. . . the use of eqns. Relationship between molar mass and parameters b] and b2 for bitumen fractions.378-2. . Hence.472 log (M) b2 = .34 12 11 . 0 8 0 + 1. a variation in even the fourth significant figure of the parameter values can cause an appreciable change in the calculated viscosities. .99.8 . . bl lo 9 8 - Cut ~. 2.

Whole bitumen viscosity predictions using generalized parameters Calculations were undertaken for the viscosity of whole Cold Lake bitumen for comparing the predictions with the data shown in Fig.which span severalorders of magnitude from 1 mPa s to 106 mPa s. The bitumen viscosities were calculated from the viscosity mixing formula (eqn. Figure 7 compares the whole bitumen viscosity data with the predictions using the empirical and generalized values of bl and b2.10). The calculation procedure involved evaluation of the parameters bl and b2 for each bitumen fraction. was typically less than 5%." 02 E O3 101 I i I i i 0 50 100 150 Temperature... based on the molar mass data in Table 1.Equations (I) & (3) '..Equations (5)/(6) & (3) 104 ~ E ~ o 0 c ~. This compares favourably with an average absolute deviation (AAD) of 38% (A VR = 0.62 ) that was obtained using the empirical parameters. itsfractionsand the reconstituted binary blends of the bitumen fractions.35 105 e. from eqns. ( 5 ) and (6). The validity of a proposed viscosity mixing formula was demonstrated with the new viscosity- . Comparison of the whole bitumen viscosity data with predictions. " .. °C Fig. CONCLUSIONS The two-parameter viscositycorrelationhas been shown to be generallyapplicablefor the viscosityof Cold lake bitumen. 1 ).. listed in Table 2.. for bitumen fractions. 3 ) in conjunction with the mole fraction data (Table 1 ) and the two-parameter viscosity correlation (eqn.The average deviation in the viscosityvalues for the bitumen fractions.. 7. 1.. The average deviation between model and experimental values for the viscosity of whole Cold Lake bitumen was calculated as 17% (AVR= 1. o O_ • Experimental data .. 103 ffJ 5~ "b'"b.

The predicted blend viscosities were well within an order of magnitude of the viscosity data. Calgary.b2 M n N r 2 average absolute deviation ( = ( l / N ) ~ I / ~ p . K mole fraction dynamic viscosity. mPa s T x /1 Subscripts corr exp i correlated/calculated value experimental value fraction (cut) of bitumen . Financial support was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA). g mol. NOTATION AAD AVR bx. g toolnumber of bitumen fractions in blend number of viscosity data points correlation coefficient temperature.36 temperature data for twelve reconstituted binary blends of the bitumen fractions. Rod Rundle for his assistance in data collection. The whole bitumen viscosity predictions using the generalized parameters and the viscosity mixing formula were within 17% of the data.#¢o~1//~p ) N average viscosity ratio ( = (1/N) ~ ([~co~/[~exp) ) parameters in viscosity-temperature correlation molar mass. mPa s liquid-mixture viscosity. The bitumen fractions were supplied by Esso Resources Canada Ltd. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors thank Mr.1 mean molar mass of blend. Generalized correlations were proposed for the two parameters (bl and b2) in the viscosity-temperature correlation in terms of the fraction molar mass.

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