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Investigating the interactions in concentrated suspensions of fine particle mixtures to enhance the sustainable complex ore beneficiation

Abstract : Fine particle mineral slurries are known to exhibit non-Newtonian behavior under the load. The particle-particle interactions in such suspensions go beyond physical contact due to the collision and friction. An ability of minerals to gain the charge in the aqueous environment justifies different behaviors of the similar systems. Being characterized with the same volumetric fraction, chemistry and particle size distribution of solids, and specific gravity of dispersing media, two suspensions can possess different rheological behavior due to the chemistry of the solution. In this case, the ionic composition of the media defines particle charging, and thus the degree of agglomeration/dispersion in the suspension. Phyllosilicate clays are known to be particularly problematic in the mineral beneficiation processes. Their nature leads spatial chemical inhomogeneity, meaning that the particle edge and face possess different chemical and physical properties. The presence of such minerals in the stirring devices (stirring tanks, flotation cells) is often characterized with coexistence of stagnant and agitated volumes of slurry, which negatively impacts the efficiency of stirring. In this work, the dilute aqueous Na-bentonite suspensions were examined via magnetic resonance imaging velocimetry to investigate the influence of pH and type of monovalent electrolyte on their local rheological behavior. The results indicated that suspensions with 0.1 vol.% solid can exhibit shear banding, shear localization or no local phenomenon as a function of chemistry of the suspending media. It was suggested that the existence of master curve (or global flow curve) for dilute suspensions was dependent on the bentonite particle organization in the suspension, which was influenced by the chemistry of the environment and the previous flow history. In the next step, second mineral phase (hematite or quartz) was added to the bentonite matrix. The interest in examination of such systems is related to the flow behavior of matrix formed with different kinds of inter-particle contacts. For example, at pH 4 the resulting electrostatic interaction between positively charged bentonite edge and negatively charged quartz is attractive, whereas at the same pH it is repulsive with the positively charged hematite. These electrostatic interactions result in different organization of matrix particles around another mineral phase. In the system with solely repulsive interactions between all sites of all mineral phases (e.g., quartz and bentonite, pH 10) the deviation from Newtonian behavior is justified by the shear-induced particle rearrangements, collision and friction. The difference in the arrangement of bentonite particle aggregates around the hematite or quartz particles was observed using SEM. As a next step the third mineral phase was added. The types of contacts established in the suspensions with different chemistry of the media were discussed along with their flow propperties.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 11, 2020 - 9:57:58 AM
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Olga Chernoburova. Investigating the interactions in concentrated suspensions of fine particle mixtures to enhance the sustainable complex ore beneficiation. Geochemistry. Université de Lorraine, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LORR0272⟩. ⟨tel-02129835⟩



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