Surfactants are widely used in the petroleum industry as one kind of Enhanced Oil Recovery methods (EOR). The oil sands mines in Northern Alberta are the largest one in the world. Due to using sodium hydroxide in bitumen extraction process, there are a lot of surfactant molecules in the tailing water. The surfactants from oil sands industry have brought a potential threat to the environment and human health. Depending on the performance of surfactant at the interface, this work focuses on removing these harmful surfactants from the tailing water and not bringing other possible hazardous substances. Moreover, a mathematical model is built to calculate the removal efficiency of the surfactant. The time required for removing the surfactant is determined experimentally. In conclusion, most of surfactant molecules are adsorbed at the oil/water interface. The fraction of the surfactant staying at the oil/water interface is high. Most of the surfactants in tailing water can be eliminated. The time of surfactant migration can be used for setting up the update time of the oil film in the automatic instrument, which can be designed in the future.
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