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Flotation

Flotation Cell Modelling

Research in flotation cells is ‘themed’ into research into conventional mechanical flotation cells and novel flotation cells. However, these two areas have a common cross-cutting research theme of investigating particle-bubble contacting in turbulent multi-phase flow environments, with the emphasis on fine and ultrafine particles. Fine particles appear to require more energy/turbulence for successful collision and often result in rheologically complex slurries. The rheology in turn impacts on the nature of the contacting environments in which they float.

This is being researched in three very different contacting environments:

  1. Stirred System - standard stirred tank/conventional mechanical cell characterised by high levels of both convective (bulk) and free turbulent flows
  2. Oscillating System - novel oscillating column cell characterised by high levels of oscillatory convective flow and low levels of free turbulent flow
  3. Free Turbulent System - novel oscillating grid cell characterised by minimal convective flow and high levels of free turbulent flow.

The computational aspects of the research are conducted within the Centre for Research in Computational and Applied Mechanics (CERECAM). Computational Fluid Dynamics is used primarily as a research tool/aid for predicting flow fields which can then be used to understand the nature of particle-bubble contacting in these systems. The rheology aspects of the research require an understanding of the effects of slurry rheology on hydrodynamics and slurry composition (size, solids concentration, mineralogy, pulp chemistry etc) on rheology.