Characterization of floc properties in mineral tailings
Formation of aggregates and flocs from fine suspended particles is of great significance in industrial applications involving solid-liquid separation (dewatering) stages, whose objective is to clean and recycle water. Fine particles in waste suspensions are inherently difficult to remove from process water. As a result, a number of steps are taken to increase the size of the particles, typically by aggregation using various chemicals. Resistance of the aggregates (strength) to external forces affects the efficiency of solid-liquid separation. However, no systematic tools and methods exist to measure aggregate properties. The main objective of this proposal is to develop methods to measure aggregate strength, and to correlate the strength with physical properties such density, size, and solids content. The proposed research will involve a number of advanced measuring techniques. The results of these studies will enhance our understanding of the behavior of mineral slurries during dewatering operations.