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Bitumen from Oil Sands Lab Activity

Avg. Ratings: 2.8 (4 Reviews)


Total Ratings: 4
Avg. Ratings: 2.8 out of 5

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Education / Teacher / Massachusetts
Yes, I recommend
I have been tweaking this lab over the years and have it to the point where it almost works. I vary pH and temperature to create a 2 x 2 experiment with all groups extracting 5 grams of the oil sand in four treatments. I use capped culture tubes and have the students shake them for two minutes. We then measure the thickness of the bitumen floating on the water and use visual estimates to quantify the amount remaining mixed in with the sands and the thickness of the layer remaining on the top. The analysis is done using class data. I then dispose of the culture tubes, as every attempt to clean them has proven futile. As a previous reviewer noted, this gives the students a real appreciation for the effort and resources required for the extraction.
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Education / Teacher / Chicago, IL
Yes, I recommend
Like another reviewer, I found very little material to be floating on top of the water after the separation process; however, the bitumen did clearly separate from the sand, and formed large sticky globs that sat on top of the sand, and can be scooped up fairly easily. I assumed this is what we are supposed to measure. Directions for disposal are rather unclear; they say to dispose of the materials according to local regulations, but I can't find any information about bitumen disposal in my state. The MSDS says to bury in landfill "if acceptable" (???) Also, I am not sure how the wastewater produced would be classified.
Reply associate Published 03/15/2016
Thank you for taking the time to review our product. The Bitumen lab is designed for 10 lab station of 2-3 students each. The kit comes with 500 grams of oil sand of which each group uses 50 g for the experiment. The sands now come in a container with a wide mouth and are transferred to a plastic bowl with a wide mouth, which should allow for a total of 10 groups.
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education / teacher / Louisville, KY
No, I didn't recommend
My students and I had a lot of trouble with this lab. I almost could not get the oil sands out of the bottle it came in. If you continue to sell this, I suggest that you make the bottle necks the same size as the bottle since the sand hardened somewhat and wouldn't narrow to come out. My first class got almost no results. My second class upped the amount of base added and it helped somewhat but the results were still very small and although we could see a layer of separation, very little floated that could be measured. One kit was not enough for a class of 28 either although I didn't see the number of groups expected to be able to use it.
Reply associate Published 03/02/2016
The Bitumen lab is designed for 10 lab station of 2-3 students each. The kit comes with 500 grams of oil sand of which each group uses 50 g for the experiment. The sands now come in a container with a wide mouth and are transferred to a plastic bowl with a wide mouth, which should allow for a total of 10 groups . Thank you for your suggestions to improve our kit. We appreciate your feedback.
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San Jose, CA
Yes, I recommend
Needs tweaking but good education value - Good engagement level; real tar sands from Alberta show students how difficult
And energy intensive oil removal can be, as well as the problem of waste water contaminated in the process of extraction; good for inquiry investigations with advanced students; the process suggested needs tweaking, and plastic bowls do not work so great, and can only be used once. Pyrex Glass tubes clamped and suspend
WARD470175-692 WARD470175-668
470175-692EA 99.99 USD InStock
470175-692 470175-668
Bitumen from Oil Sands Lab Activity
Educational Classroom Kits and Activities
Introduction to Bitumen Extraction for Conversion to Crude Oil

  • Demonstrates methods required to recover bitumen that is eventually produced as synthetic crude oil
  • Initiates questions about fossil fuel energy use and environmental, social, and economical impacts of mining
  • Materials included for ten lab setups
Using actual oil sands from the Athabasca oil sand deposits in Alberta, students will examine the nature and characteristics of oil sand and then formulate and test methods of bitumen extraction.

Accessories information: A refill kit is available and contains only consumable component items. It does not contain additional student or teacher guides.

Ordering information: Lab includes 500g of oil sand, Filter paper, NaOH prep solution, Disposable aprons and gloves, pH test strips, Mixing containers and materials, and Comprehensive teacher's guide with student copymasters.






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