Insider view helps improve feedwell design
Feedwells – used in most mineral processing facilities as well as other industries – are difficult to truly understand because of their structure and the fact that the liquid they contain is literally as clear as mud.
Outotec director Richard Triglavcanin drew upon the researchers’ expertise in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to see how solids distribute, fluid flows, and flocculants perform in its new feedwell design.
CSIRO’s Dr Alex Heath, who worked closely with Mr Triglavcanin, says CFD models were used to generate a ‘virtual image’ inside the feedwell, which allowed researchers to investigate adaptations quickly and cost effectively.
After simulating Outotec’s feedwell design, some subtle geometry changes were made to achieve the final design.
“What ensued, I believe, is the first real feedwell design enhancement in 15 years,” says Mr Triglavcanin.
Design improvements include extending the feedwell shelf to increase solids residence time, adding a fourth dilution port to improve flocculation, and using horizontal but angled vanes to create two feed zones within the feedwell – the upper for mixing and momentum dissipation and the lower for maximising aggregate growth.
The full story can be found in the June issue of CSIRO’s Process magazine, which will be released on Thursday 5 June 2008. A PDF of the magazine is available now at: Process Magazine.
Other stories in Process include:
Sulfidic waste offers hidden mineral wealth: research is mapping the way for mining companies to exploit hidden mineral wealth in tailings using simple separation processes.
Direct route solves metallurgical challenge: international company Baja Mining is planning to use a direct solvent extraction system developed through the Perth-based Parker Centre to help recover copper and zinc from its El Boleo deposit in Mexico.
Bell rings on coal congestion: a prototype on-line alarm system that uses acoustic emissions to monitor the performance of dense medium cyclones has been successfully trialled at a Hunter Valley coal plant and is now ready to move to the commercial stage.
On-the-spot analysis offers fast results: a recently developed technique that uses lasers to provide an on-the-spot analysis of elemental composition has the potential to save mining companies both time and money.
Download image at: Insider view helps improve feedwell design.
- CSIRO researchers working at the Parker Centre for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions helped to perfect the design of feedwells
- Feedwells are difficult to truly understand because of their structure and the fact that the liquid they contain is literally as clear as mud
- After simulating Outotec’s feedwell design, some subtle geometry changes were made to achieve the final design