Lowered Expectations: The Impact Of Yield Stress On Sand Transport In Laminar, Non-Newtonian Slurry Flows

Gillies, R. G.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
The pipeline transport of paste, backfill or thickened tailings slurries is an important component of the tailings disposal process in many mines around the world. These mixtures contain significant fractions of fine (clay) and coarse (sand) particles, causing them to exhibit non-Newtonian flow behaviour and high frictional pressure gradients. There is often economic incentive to operate these pipelines in the laminar flow regime. Irrefutable evidence has shown that coarse particle settling can occur during the laminar flow of these slurries even when static settling tests show no indication of such behaviour. Previously, a ?rule-of-thumb? minimum frictional pressure gradient of ~1.5 to 2 kPa/m was suggested to ensure effective sand transport, based on the results of tests conducted using viscous Newtonian oils. In this paper, we examine the results of laminar flow tests of non-Newtonian, coarse-particle laden slurries conducted with pipeline loops of 50, 100, 150 and 250 mm in diameter. The results indicate that the ratio of the mean wall shear stress to the mean surficial particle stress is a better indicator of laminar flow settling tendency than frictional pressure gradient.
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