Rheology of shear thickening mineral slurries

Shah, A 2007, Rheology of shear thickening mineral slurries, Masters by Research, Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Rheology of shear thickening mineral slurries
Author(s) Shah, A
Year 2007
Abstract In order to improve the optimisation of mineral processing operations the rheological properties of slurries must be determined as accurately as possible under the conditions that closely resemble actual site conditions. The rheology of particles suspended in Newtonian fluids is well documented. However, the rheology of particles in non-Newtonian fluids has not been the subject of much investigation till now. The work conducted here attempts to fill this gap in knowledge.

The rheological properties of slurries are heavily dependent on the solids concentrations and particle-solid interaction. At low solids concentrations, constant viscosity and Newtonian behaviour is observed, but as solids concentration increases the rheological behaviour becomes increasingly complex and non-Newtonian with viscosity becoming dependent on the shear rate. The nature of the non-Newtonian behaviour depends on the solid concentration, particle shape, particle size, particle size distribution and the suspending liquid rheological properties. The suspension/slurry may develop a yield stress and become time dependent in nature as structures develop within the fluid at higher solids concentrations. This study however, is primarily focused on the measurement of the rheological properties, where it is assumed that the fluid will be fully sheared and that the rheological properties will be unlikely to change with time.

Shear thickening behaviour of slurries was the focus of this work. The aim was to investigate the slurry concentration region where shear thickening occurs. The first objective of the project was to develop a fluid analogue which will have similar rheological behaviour to that of concentrated tailings from gold mines so that it can be used as a test material to simulate the flow behaviour of the tailings in a pipe. The second objective of this project was to enable the prediction of flow behaviour in the pipe loop under certain conditions using the fluid analogue for slurry from Sunrise dam.

In order to achieve the objectives, experiments were carried out to obtain a fluid analogue of a shear thickening slurry. CSL 500 and SR 200 rheometers were used for the characterisation of different fluid analogues and shear thickening mineral slurries. Malvern Sizer, model: mastersizerX v1.1, was used to obtain particle size distributions. A mini pipe loop system, located in the laboratory of the Rheology and Materials Processing Centre (RMPC) was used to get pipe line flow data for comparison with the rheometer data.

A few fluid analogues with different suspending medium and different concentrations of glass spheres was tested before finally using, 48 vol% glass spheres in 1.8 wt% CMC solution as a fluid analogue for the mineral tailings obtained from Sunrise dam, WA. For comparison between the pipe line and rheometer data, all pipe line data (in the form of 8V/D) were converted to rheometer data (in the form of du/dr) using the Robinowitsch-Mooney equation.

The above comparison indicated that it is possible to produce fluid analogue to simulate the flow behaviour of Sunrise dam slurry using a shear thinning suspending medium with high concentration of glass particles. Shear thickening flow behaviour was clearly observed in the rheometer while it was less predominant in a pipe line flow.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Keyword(s) Slurry
Mining engineering
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Created: Fri, 28 Jan 2011, 16:22:05 EST
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