|Cite this article as:|
|Huazhe Jiao, Weilin Chen, Aixiang Wu, Yang Yu, Zhuen Ruan, Rick Honaker, Xinming Chen, and Jianxin Yu, Flocculated unclassified tailings settling efficiency improvement by particle collision optimization in the feedwell, Int. J. Miner. Metall. Mater.,(2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-021-2402-3|
Efficient thickening of tailings is a prerequisite for the metal mine tailings backfill and surface disposal operation. The effective collision of ultrafine tailings particles in suspension with flocculant molecules is essential for flocs aggregates formation and settling. Unreasonable feeding speed and flocculant adding method will lead to the failure of effective dispersion of flocculant and high particle content in thickener overflow. In this work, the effects of turbulence intensity and flocculant adding method on floc size, strength and movement characteristics are analysed. Aiming to solve the turbidity increased problem, a pilot-scale continuous thickening test was carried out. Taking a single particle and multiple flocs of full tailings as the research object, the particle iterative settlement model and the Diffusion Limited Aggregation (DLA) model of flocs were established respectively. The influence of turbulence intensity on collision effect is studied by tracking and simulating particle trajectory. The results show that in the process of single particle settlement, chaos appears in the iterative process owing to particle adhesion which caused by micro action. When the turbulence intensity is 25.99%, the maximum particle size of tailings floc is 6.21mm and the maximum sedimentation rate is 5.284 cm/s. The tailings floc presents a multi-scale structure of particle-force chain system when hindered settling, and the interweaving of strong and weak force chains constitutes the topological structure of particles. The results were applied to a thicker in plant, the flocculant addition mode and feed rate were optimized, and the flocs settling speed and overflow clarity were improved.