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  • Journal article
    Mesa Pena DA, Brito-Parada P, 2019,

    Scale-up in froth flotation: a state-of-the-art review

    , Separation and Purification Technology, Vol: 210, Pages: 950-962, ISSN: 1383-5866

    Froth flotation has been one of the most important and widely used methods to concentrate minerals since its introduction over a hundred years ago. Over the last few decades, in order to process more mineral while reducing capital costs, flotation equipment has become exponentially larger. The increase in tank volume, however, has brought new challenges in the operation and design of industrial flotation tanks. This review analyses the literature on flotation tank scale-up for the first time, contrasting several techniques and approaches used in both historical and state-of-the-art research. The study of flotation scale-up is crucial for the optimisation of industrial plant performance and the maximisation of laboratory-scale research impact. While important advances in our understanding of flotation have been achieved, large flotation tank design and scale-up has, to a large extent, remained in-house know-how of manufacturing companies. This review of the literature relevant to flotation tank scale-up has resulted in a new classification, dividing the scale-up literature into two main areas of study, namely “Kinetic scale-up” and “Machine design scale-up”. This review indicates that current scale-up rules governing the design of flotation tanks focus mainly on pulp zone kinetic parameters and neglect the effects on the froth zone, despite the importance of froth stability and mobility in determining flotation performance. Froth stability and mobility are closely linked to the distance the froth needs to travel, which increases with tank diameter. Although including internal elements, such as launders and crowders, has been the industrial solution for enhancing froth transport and recovery in larger tanks, the design and scale-up of these elements have not been thoroughly studied. Gaps in our knowledge of flotation are discussed in the context of addressing the scale-up problem, considering froth transport and froth stability. Addressing thes

  • Conference paper
    Morrison A, Brito-Parada P, Cilliers J, 2019,

    Developing a design modification for improved froth flotation performance through minimising turbulence at the pulp-froth interface

    , Pages: 1739-1747

    The separation of valuable and gangue minerals according to their surface hydrophobicity in a froth flotation tank occurs in both its pulp and froth phases. In the pulp phase, hydrophobic particles must be brought into contact with rising bubbles introduced at or near the bottom of the tank. In a mechanical froth flotation tank, this is primarily achieved through the agitation of the pulp by an impeller or by a rotor-stator system. However, the turbulent and mixing effects of such an impeller or rotor-stator system, necessary to promote bubble-particle interactions in the pulp, are not confined to the pulp zone, but are transmitted into the froth zone at the pulp-froth interface. This impeller-induced turbulence at the pulp-froth interface is compounded by the impulse of buoyant bubbles entering the base of the froth phase, reducing the stability, and thus separation performance, of the resulting froth. Hence, turbulence improves separation performance if it occurs deep in the pulp phase, but diminishes it if it occurs close to the pulp-froth interface. For this work, a performance-enhancing pulp phase insert was designed to isolate the impeller-induced turbulence from the pulp-froth interface in a laboratory-scale, continuously-operated froth flotation tank. The result was a shifted grade-recovery curve that allows the insert to be designed to maximize the recovery from the system without sacrificing the grade of the concentrate, or vice versa, along a spectrum of improved performance. This paper will present the insert design and development process that resulted in this improved grade-recovery curve, as well as a set of heuristics that could be used to design a similar insert for pilot- and industrial-scale validation and deployment.

  • Conference paper
    Bodin J, Muller S, Brito-Parada P, Segura-Salazar Jet al., 2019,

    Linking mineral processing simulation with life cycle assessment (LCA) to forecast potential environmental impacts of small-scale mining technologies development

    , 15th SGA Biennial Meeting on Life with Ore Deposits on Earth, Publisher: SOC GEOLOGY APPLIED MINERAL DEPOSITS-SGA, Pages: 1581-1584
  • Conference paper
    Vega D, Brito-Parada PR, Cilliers JJ, 2019,

    Small hydrocyclones for classiffication of particles in the micron range

    , Pages: 2398-2405

    Small diameter (10 mm) hydrocyclones have been applied successfully for the separation of particle suspensions in the micron size range. These hydrocyclones are attractive because they show a bypass fraction larger that the water recovery, resulting in a high particle recovery to the underflow as well as low water recovery. However, this is a disadvantage when the purpose of the hydrocyclone is classification because of the large amount of fine particles that are misplaced in the underflow. The aim of this study is to explore, experimentally and computationally, the influence of design parameters on the classification process. In this work, a full factorial experimental design was defined to carry out comprehensive experimental tests using glass beads (0-20 µm) as the particulate system. We show that the dimensions of spigot and vortex finder diameter can be effectively manipulated to change the separation performance of the system and the energy consumption. A CFD model was developed that is able to predict particle size distribution. The numerical results for the partition curves showed very good agreement with the experimental data.

  • Conference paper
    Mesa Pena DA, Morrison A, Brito Parada P, 2019,

    Effect of impeller design on bubble size and froth stability

    , International Minerals Processing Congress 2018

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