The IPR-CEF technique has recently been developed as a quantitative method for emulsion stability evaluation of water-in-oil emulsions. Critical electric field (CEF) measurements, made with variation in the internal phase ratio (IPR) of oil external emulsions, can reveal more information related to the mechanism of emulsion stabilization, specifically in terms of its flocculation and coalescence behavior.

Emulsions made with bitumen from a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) facility were investigated by application of the IPR-CEF technique in an explorative study to evaluate the performance of the technique. The stabilization mechanism of these emulsions was also studied to explore the effect of bitumen concentration and diluent character on emulsion stability, in terms of flocculation and coalescence behavior. An attempt was made to investigate the mechanism of destabilization by a chemical demulsifier.

It is shown that the IPR-CEF technique offers valuable insight, both in understanding the mechanism of stabilization of SAGD based emulsions as well as the mechanism of demulsification by a chemical demulsifier.

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