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Pumping and rheological investigation for iron ore flow of coarse particles

Grant number: 14/22926-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2015 - June 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mining Engineering - Ore Beneficiation
Principal researcher:Arthur Pinto Chaves
Grantee:Arthur Pinto Chaves
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:José Luís de Paiva ; Laurindo de Salles Leal Filho ; Thiago Cesar de Souza Pinto


The systems of hydraulic transport of mineral slurries require special attention as coarse particles (diameter>100µm) present a settling behavior inside the pipes. In this situation the gathering of empirical data such as flow velocity and head losses per meter horizontal pipe assume an important role to its corrected design/operation. Based on the complexity of heterogeneous flow of mineral slurries, empirical data are commonly used to predict such parameters. The energy consumption of the pipeline systems of mineral slurries is dependent on the slurry volume to be transported, the head losses to be overcome and the pressure gradient inside the pipes. This is function mainly of the slurry viscosity, a topic that has not been deeply understood, on theoretical and technological approach, in the mining industry. The wear, in the pipes, pump rotor and internal parts of the pump, is another important parameter in the practical and economical approach. Brazil has one of the biggest pipelines network in the world and new projects are being designed and implemented. The Mining and Petroleum Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School of University of São Paulo (PMI) already has an experimental unit (test loop) with 50mm pipe diameter, fully instrumented (pressure transducers; magnetic flow meter, frequency drivers, data acquisition system) and installed at the Transport Phenomena and Chemical Interface Laboratory (LFQI). The assemble of a second unit (test loop), also fully instrumented with pipe diameters of 75mm and 100mm is also important to evaluate the pipe diameters effect on the pressure gradient inside the pipes and also on the flow velocity, which constitutes important parameters to the correct design/operation of the pipeline system. Studies on rheological characterization and evaluation of abrasive/corrosive wear are also part of the goals of this proposal. This project also aims the implementation of mathematical modeling of slurry flow, supported by computational fluid dynamics - CFD for the prediction of the flow behavior (flow velocity, pressure gradient and axial solids distribution inside pipes) based on the theoretical multiphase models. The experimental results obtained will be used for the validation study of this modeling and computer simulation. Due to the relevance of this project, the Brazilian mining company Vale S / A, through ITV (Vale Institute of Technology) will also to foment this research project with total amount of magnitude around R$ 100,000.00, applied to cover the extra costs such as third-party services, laboratory assays, travel, accommodation, etc., and also provide the iron ore samples to be studied with a particle size greater than 100¼m. The expected results will allow the characterization and a better understanding of the phenomenological issues on the hydraulic transport of mineral slurries of iron ore which constitutes an important Brazilian commodity. Therefore this project will provide a better understanding on the effect of pipe diameter in parameters related to the pumping of mineral slurries composed by coarse particles, with a strong experimental basis and a CFD application aiming to converge the laboratory results with the industrial operation. (AU)

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