Application of flume testing to field-scale beach slope prediction Guang, Raymond; Anstey, David
Tailings beach slope is a key parameter in design of tailings storage facilities. It influences the deposition plan, facility footprint, storage capacity and staging. This paper presents a method for applying existing analytical models to flume test and other rheological test results to allow the prediction of field-scale tailings beach slopes. Several authors have proposed analytical and testing methods for predicting tailings beach profiles. Flume tests are often used during design to provide an indication of how the tailings may beach. However, the application of flume test data to full-scale facilities has several limitations. Flume tests tend to yield much steeper beach slopes than those measured in the field. The success in scaling flume test results to full-scale facilities is mixed, at best. This paper demonstrates how an analytical model based on solid and fluid mechanics principles can be applied to scale-up flume test results to field-scale beaches. The method takes into account the differences in scale and tailings flow rate between the flume and the field. The paper discusses how to account the non-linear degradation of yield stress observed for non-segregating thickened or polymer-treated tailings. The beach slope prediction method is applied to flume test and rheological data for polymer-treated mature fine tailings from two existing oil sands mines.
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