UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Application of acoustic measurements in fine coal processing Redka, Ievgenii


Metallurgical coal production is crucial for the world economy. It is the main ingredient in the steelmaking process, while steel is used in construction, infrastructure, transportation, new green renewable technologies, and everyday home appliances. Flotation has been commonly used to treat very fine ore and coal; however, flotation is a complex process requiring modern automation devices to be installed to maximize its efficiency. These sophisticated systems are usually cost intensive in terms of purchase and maintenance and require someone with qualified expertise to operate them. As a result, it is difficult for some companies to implement high-tech technology, so they must rely on manual sampling—resulting in costly decision-making delays. As a result, the main focus of this research was to find a suitable method to monitor the coal flotation process using acoustic monitoring as an alternative to other conventional approaches. The acoustic monitoring method was previously tested on ore and showed reasonable efficiency in monitoring froth in the flotation using coalescence phenomena as a process indicator. For the previous research, custom-made and industrial types of hydrophones were used in the experimental work, and their ability to monitor froth was confirmed in full-scale processing plants. For this research, it was decided to carry out a fundamental analysis to determine whether the sound signal could be directly correlated with solids content in the slurry and provide information on froth loading as an indicator of flotation efficiency. The commercially available acoustic equipment was acquired for the research; it met all the requirements from an efficiency point of view and had the flexibility to be used at the processing plant. This setup was shown to be fairly robust at the laboratory scale, and it had a reasonable response to changes in solids content in the tested coal samples. As a result, it was found that this type of monitoring approach could be used, and it will perform well since it does not require a high degree of qualifications or sophisticated skills to operate. In addition, the setup has the potential to be integrated into an automation system at an operating processing plant.

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