The Utility and Limitations of Mathematical Modelling in the Prediction of the Properties of Flotation Networks

Woodburn, E. T. ; Kropholler, H. W. ; Greene, J. C. A. ; Cramer, L. A. ; Herbst, J. ; Poling, G.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 37
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1976
A generalized mathematical structure is proposed whereby internal species mass flows within a flotation network are defined uniquely by a matrix of enhancement factors. An element of the enhancement factor matrix is defined as the ratio of the mass flow of that species leaving a given cell in the concentrate to the species mass flow leaving the same cell in the tailings. To predict the enhancement factors, knowledge of flotation kinetics effects is required. Recently experimental data has become available relating to the performance of industrial flotation circuits which indicate that the discrete or discrete-distributed kinetic schemes are capable of reasonably effective simulations. These simulations show the importance of including froth effects. The prediction of performance of networks from small-scale batch tests on flotation streams shows that the model for the froth phase used in the simulations does not scale-up well and that aeration effects are also difficult to predict. The network analysis should be useful in differential flotation of complex ores and it is disappointing in this context that little information on the kinetics of activation and depression is available.
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