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Power draw measurements as a method of characterization of particle aggregation Genc, Ayse Merve


Power consumption is one of the critical parameters in optimization of industrial operations. In the present work, the power draw measurements were used as a method of characterizing and optimizing particle aggregation. A series of agglomerate flotation and oil agglomeration tests were carried out to find a correlation between power draw, particle aggregation and flotation performance. The experimental program included the agglomerate flotation of a complex nickel sulfide ore with fibrous gangue minerals, oil agglomeration of a fine suspension of bituminous coal used as model systems and oil agglomeration tests on a mixed mineral system with various types of gangue minerals. The effect of the gangue properties on oil agglomeration were studied by changing the coal-to-gangue ratio and the type of the gangue. Power draw measurements were conducted with either a turn-table or an electrical method to characterize and optimize agglomeration. The results indicate that the system behavior was strongly dependent on the mineralogical composition of the ore. The presence of fibrous gangue minerals in the flotation feed produced by grinding the nickel sulfide ore had a dominating effect on the performance of the flotation process. Power draw measurements were found to be much more useful in system optimization when compared to the characterization of particle agglomeration. The small portion of nickel sulfide particles in the ore and the complex entangled structure resulting from the presence of large amounts of fibrous gangue minerals probably made the agglomeration process difficult to be followed by power draw measurements. In the case of a simple coal-oil agglomeration system, the power draw measurements were sensitive enough to follow the oil agglomeration process. Concentration (valuable-to-gangue particle ratio), size and shape of these gangue minerals were the factors which affected the system significantly.

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