Enhanced Gravity Separation: An Alternative to Flotation

Honaker, R. Q. ; Paul, B. C. ; Ho, K.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Recent research has shown that froth flotation is not effective at treating fine coals (-28 mesh) containing a large portion of middling particles. Due to their relatively large density differences, middling particles can be separated more efficiently using gravity-based processes. The ability of gravity separators to treat fine particles has been limited by the lack of particle inertia relative to the surface drag forces. However, particle inertia can be enhanced by the application of a centrifugal field. A commercial-scale centrifugal Falcon concentrator capable of treating a mass flow rate of greater than 1 tph continuously has been used to evaluate its feasibility for treating fine coal as an alternative to froth flotation. Tests conducted on a -28 mesh fine coal circuit feed have found the Falcon concentrator to be very effective at cleaning the 28 x 325 mesh size fraction. For an Illinois No. 5 coal sample, the ash content was reduced in the 100 x 325 mesh size fraction from about 18% to 8% while achieving a high combustible recovery value of nearly 97%. In addition, the total sulfur content was substantially decreased from 2.6% to 1.7%. The effects of the critical operating parameters on separation performance have been studied and their values optimized.
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